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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
I didn't discover mascarpone cheese until a few years ago, but since then, I've become addicted. It is fantastic added to oatmeal, turned into ice cream, and stuffed in ravioli, but my favorite way to enjoy it is whipped with honey and vanilla seeds and used as a dip with fresh fruit. This is my go-to dessert in the summer, as it is light and refreshing, yet wonderfully satisfying to my sweet tooth.
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I learned how easy it is to make mascarpone while visiting my mother in a small town in Northern Indiana, where I couldn't get my hands on it in any grocery store. As a last attempt, I did some research and was pleasantly surprised to learn that such a rich, creamy, and oftentimes expensive cheese is one of the easiest to master.
I'm now able to feed my cheese addiction without breaking the bank or using every utensil in the house. Homemade mascarpone requires only 10 minutes of active time and a rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning, it will be ready to be devoured over pancakes or mixed in with granola.
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a saucepan over low heat, slowly bring the heavy cream to a low simmer. The temperature should climax at 180° F, and the goal is to try to keep it around there. Let the cream simmer at 180° F for about 3 minutes, then add in the lemon juice and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. I find it's best to step away for just half an hour. Perhaps you should take this time to dream about how you'll enjoy the finished product.
Fill a small strainer with several layers of cheesecloth (I use 3 layers) and put a small bowl under the strainer. Pour the cooled mascarpone mixture into the cheesecloth and stick the entire bowl with the cheese and cheesecloth in the fridge overnight to strain out the whey. My cheese usually releases only a few tablespoons of whey, but the mascarpone still comes out thick and creamy in the morning. Who could have imagined that a delicacy like this could be so easy to make!
Photos by Shelly of Vegetarian 'Ventures