Mascarpone is very soft mild and fresh Italian cream cheese made from the cream from cow’s milk. Fresh mascarpone has a fat content of 60-75% and mild buttery taste and aroma.
It’s believed to originate in Lombardy, Italy, from the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, southwest of Milan. It dates back to the 12th century and was known to be a favourite of Napoleon.
Although mascarpone is originally from Italy, this type of cheese is made in many other countries, worldwide.
How is the Cheese Made?
The cream is heated and coagulated by adding citric acid or acetic acid, then, the whey is drained off, without pressing or aging. It’s ready the next day.
What Does Mascarpone Look Like?
The cheese is milky white and velvety smooth, almost like rich heavy thickened cream, with a very high fat content ranging from 60% to 75%. In North America it is mostly sold in containers of 100-200g (3½-7oz), but may also be sold in containers of up to 2.2kg (5Ib), depending on the country and manufacturer.
What does Macarpone taste like?
It has a mild sweet and lemony taste and a full, persistent and buttery aroma.
Freshly made mascarpone has a short shelf life and should be consumed within a few days but many manufacturers in North America add potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate, to give it a longer shelf life of up to 90 days if sealed. Once opened it should be used within a few days.
Typical ingredients in North American Mascarpone Cheese
Pasteurized milk and cream, milk ingredients, fructose, citric acid, potassium sorbate, salt, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, locust bean gum, carrageenan, calcium chloride, natural flavour.
Mascarpone is easy to spread, and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes to enhance the flavour of a dish without overwhelming the original taste.
It’s used to enhance, add flavour and improve texture of pasta sauces.
It’s is one of the main ingredients in tiramisu and Charllottes.
It can also be used in cheesecakes, to thicken puddings and dessert creams or in place of butter and Parmesan to thicken sauces, and risottos.
It can also be served on it’s own as a dessert with fruit slices, or sprinkled with sugar and lemon or paired with a classic dessert wine.
- Origin: Lombardy, Italy; currently produced in several countries worldwide.
- Milk: Pasteurized cow’s
- Age: 1 day
- Classification: fresh and soft
- Texture and colour: milky white, creamy, velvety smooth and spreadable, like whipped butter.
- Fat content: 60-75%
- Weight and shape: mostly sold in 100-475g (3½-16.7oz) containers, but up to 2.2kg (5Ib tubs) can be found in the market.
- Size: no size
- Rind: rindless
- Producer: various, e.g Blue Ridge Dairy Company, Leesburg, Virginia, USA; Tre Stelle Canada
- Herbst, Sharon Tyler and Herbst, Ron, 2007. The Cheese Lovers Companion: the ultimate A-to-Z cheese guide with more than 1,000 listings for cheeses and cheese-related terms.