Mascarpone Cheese


 Acid cheeses are some of the easiest, quickest cheeses you can make at home, not to mention much less expensive and tasty than store-bought.  Ricotta and mascapone cheese are both made with some kind of acid added to heated milk or cream, then strained. 

They are great to use as spreads on toast, herbed and spiced in fillings or dips, and in cooking and baking.  Mascapone gives a great yield of about 1 3/4c cups of cheese from 2 cups of cream.  Traditionally made with tartaric acid derived from the winemaking process, tartaric acid can be expensive and tough to find.  Cream of tartar can be substituted 2 to 1 for tartaric acid.  Citric acid in lemon juice is chemically very similar to tartaric acid.  My version uses a little of both.

For Thanksgiving this year, I made a mascapone cheese pumpkin pie.  Wow!  Simply replace the cream/milk with equal parts of mascapone.  The pie filling took on a mouse-like quality with a nice tang from the acidic cheese, balancing out the sometimes flat pumpkin and sugar in the pie, perfect for the holidays.

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