Mascarpone is a soft Italian cheese made from cow's milk. Its 60 to 75 per cent fat content provides a creamy texture and rich taste. Although mascarpone is often referred to as Italian cream cheese, you cannot simply swap out mascarpone for plain cream cheese in a recipe and expect the same results.
For a small quantity of mascarpone, use a mixture of cream cheese and sour cream. This mascarpone alternative is best suited when the cheese is being used for texture rather than a main flavour, such as in sauces or soups. Measure out equal parts of cream cheese and sour cream; for instance, if your recipe calls for 1/2 cup mascarpone, use 1/4 cup each of softened cream cheese and sour cream. Add the ingredients to a large bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you can use an electric mixer on "Medium" to mix the cream cheese and sour cream. Cut room-temperature cream cheese into 1/2-inch cubes to make the mixing easier. Use immediately after mixing.
If a recipe calls for at least a pound of mascarpone, substitute a combination of ricotta cheese and double cream. Ricotta cheese has a similar taste to mascarpone, while the double cream adds a creamy texture; also, ricotta is much lower in fat than mascarpone. Not only is this substitution healthier than mascarpone, but it works especially well for mascarpone pasta fillings or dessert recipes like Italian cheesecake or tiramisu. To make a pound of mascarpone alternative, add 227gr of ricotta cheese and 1 cup of double cream to a food processor. Hold down the "On" button for 10-second intervals until the liquid is completely incorporated and the mixture is free of lumps. Don't use a blender or the mixture will be over-mixed and too thin. Substitute the mixture into your dish immediately after mixing.
Use your entire mascarpone alternative right after you make it for the freshest taste. Store any leftover mascarpone alternative in an airtight container labelled with the date you made the recipe and keep it in the refrigerator. Since the mascarpone substitutions contain cream products, consume the recipe within five days of refrigerating. Leftover mascarpone substitute can be used as a cracker spread, fruit dip or as an flavour alternative to butter. If you don't want to throw away leftovers within five days, put the mascarpone substitute in a plastic freezer bag. Squeeze the air out and press down on the mixture to flatten it. Securely close the bag and store flat in the freezer for up to two months. When you're ready to use the cheese, defrost it in the refrigerator. The fats in the mixture may separate from the water after it has thawed, so add the thawed mixture to a bowl and whisk until the cheese is completely mixed before using.
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