More time has passed than I had planned when I made a passing promise to give you a lesson in homemade Mascarpone. We used it together when making this Asparagus Tart. And if you had been holding out on that tart until the publication of this post , I am so very sorry. Because now we must patiently wait through two seasons before we see the pointy heads of asparagus emerge through the still chilled earth.
For this dilemma I offer two solutions with the hope that you will take them as my apology.
1. The asparagus tart would be just as delicious, I imagine, with much of the produce that is currently at its peak. Tomatoes, zucchini, or peppers perhaps?
2. Broiled peaches.
After a gentle dip in a shallow bath of sugar, peach halves are placed directly under the broiler. During those brief moments under the flame the peach warms just to the point of coaxing all it’s floral sweetness to be at its prime while at the same time creating a thin, crackly layer of caramelized sugar. With a hefty dollop of your homemade mascarpone, left to warm and puddle ever so slightly with the remaining heat of the peaches, you have yourself a perfectly simple summer dessert. Or in the case of this morning, a breakfast of champions.
Now I realize that the thought of making your own cheese may seem daunting and yet it does sort of have this alluring, rustic sound to it.
“What did you do today?” “Oh, you know, not much. Except that I did make cheese.” “?!??!!”
Mascarpone is the perfect starting point into the world of home cheese making. One that I seem to step deeper and deeper into. Perhaps someday I’ll have a goat. She’ll be called Ginny and together we’ll make the most creamy Chevre and tangy blocks of goat cheddar. But for now I’ll start by simply adding a bit of lemon juice to cream and wait for time and gravity to create a creamy, soft cheese with a very faint tang. Mascarpone has since replaced my hefty scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream next to my summer’s pie. It combines the best of both worlds – a non-taste bud numbing temperature with a an impossible richness that holds its own next to sweet, tart fruit or when used as a base for a savory tart or pizza.
2 cups pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized, if possible) cream
1 T fresh lemon juice
Heat to 190* on medium low. Continually stir, taking care not to scorch the bottom.
When the cream has reached 190* add the lemon juice. It will immediately get a touch thicker. Heat at 190* for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from the heat, cover the pan and refrigerate over night or until completely cool.
Once cream has cooled it will be nearly as thick as sour cream.
Place a strainer lined with four layers of cheesecloth over a medium bowl. Add the thickened cream to the cheesecloth. Gather the corners and carefully tie the ends to form a bundle. Hang this in the fridge and let drain into the bowl for another 12-24 hours, or overnight. There should be a couple tablespoons of whey left in the bowl after it’s finished draining.
After the cream has hung and drained your mascarpone is finished and ready to use.
Check out these resources for homemade mascarpone. They helped me along the way.
4 peach halves
1/2 cup sugar
Turn your broiler on to high. Place a sheet tray directly under the flame.
In a shallow bowl or on a plate, add the sugar. Dip the peach halves into the sugar several times to get a nice, thick crust of sugar.
Quickly move the peaches to the broiler and watch carefully.
Remove from the broiler once the sugar has melted and just caramelized and the peaches have warmed through and their juices start to bubble and spurt, about 5 minutes.
Top with a good amount of mascarpone and serve immediately.
*One last note on a completely unrelated, yet equally delicious topic. I have not forgotten about your enthusiasm for Random Acts of Cookies. I was blown away by your response and I say we continue on with our plans to start a movement. But I need your help. I will be thinking of ways in which we can share with one another our cookie acts but for now, I’d love for you to tell us about it, and/or post pictures to the NWS Facebook page. Let’s encourage one another in this and love on others one cookie at a time.
Thanks for your excitement!