A bit of history
As usual with food and recipes it is difficult to identify an exact origin. Many recipes go back a long, long time and were born out of what nowadays we call – when we refer to Italian cuisine – the cucina povera (poor people’s cuisine); sometimes also, erroneously,
arte povera (poor people’s art). I personally doubt that even only 150 years ago many people would have seen themselves as making arte povera; they were probably too concerned with feeding their families.
One of the most prominent and probable theories on the name mascarpone has it that it derives from the Lombard expressions mascherpa and/or mascarpia, which, in the local lingo of that region of Italy denotes another well known milk derivative, ricotta. Mascarpone indeed originates from that area, and nowadays is made in many places which is why, I am excited to share the recipe with you so that you can make it at home and, if you live around the Benelux, Germany or France, we will be very happy to make it for you and to come and share our traditional Italian cuisine hosting skills at yours, regardless of whether it is a friends gathering, a slightly more formal meeting or simply a dinner with someone who is dear to you.
To make anywhere from 200 (7 oz) to 400 (14 oz) grams of Mascarpone, you need
½ liter cream (1 pint) from the fridge of your supermarket, or directly from a farmer if possible (boil it first, ONLY if you get it from your farmer)
6 (0.2 oz, or one teaspoon) grams of lemon juice. A gram here or there will not deeply influence the result…
- on very gentle heat, bring your cream to 85 deg C (185 F) in a pan
- add lemon juice
- keep stirring for some 2 or 3 minutes with a whisk. You will see your cream thickening just slightly. If that happens you are on the right track.
- let cool for some 15-20 mins
- prepare a colander with a kitchen cloth in it. Under your colander, place a bowl. Make sure your kitchen cloth gets washed with odourless washing agents. You don’t want your mascarpone to taste of spring fields or ocean blue…
- after the resting time of 15-20 mins, pour the mix in your colander with cloth. Place some cling film right on top of your cream (to prevent a hard crust from developing)
and place it all in the fridge, for an absolute minimum of 8 hours (tip, prepare it in the evening so it has a whole night to rest), more likely to be closer to 24, sometimes up to 48. I made a batch that took nearly two days to solidify to the desired consistency.
- Et voilà, you are one step closer to making home-made, highest quality tiramisu