Mascarpone round 2 (Eureka!)

After the disappointing results of Saturday I pondered for awhile and came home from work to try again. Behold! A puff pastry stuffed with fresh mascarpone and drizzled with hot fudge sauce.

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Mascarpone. That hideously over-priced Italian dessert cheese used in real tiramisu. Difficult to find in the grocery store. Case in point, I checked 5 stores and when I finally found it:

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Shocking!

Lately I’ve been uninspired in the kitchen. I was talking dessert ideas with my sister and asked if she had ever eaten something with mascarpone? Her response was to lapse into silence for a moment, before rapturously describing the best dessert she had ever eaten. I figure that anything which evokes that response is something I must learn how to cook with. I wasn’t sure what I even wanted to make with it, just the possibility of working with it got me thinking. Lo and behold, making it only takes 2 ingredients; heavy cream 36% and a lemon. Ah hah!

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Recipe source: I’m not sure where this idea originated, I found it on Pastry Affair, and searched around, everybody seems to use the same method; heat the cream and lemon juice, strain and chill and voila (hopefully). It looks the same on Mother Would Know. I found some very good pictures of the process on Savory Bites.

Time required: 1 hour of work + 8 hours to set

Yields: uh, maybe about 2 cups?

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: under $5 if cream is on sale

Kitchen implements I used:

  • heavy-bottom sauce pot
  • candy thermometer
  • strainer
  • cheese cloth
  • plastic wrap

Ingredients:

  • 2 C heavy cream, aim for 36% milk fat, avoid ultra pasteurized
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions:

1. Heat the cream to 88°C / 190°F. Stir often. Note for next time, skip the heat diffuser.

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2. Stir in the lemon juice, and heat mixture for 5 min, trying to keep temperature constant.

UPDATED JULY 26: after 3rd try at this, have determined 5 minutes it just not enough, I think other people might have a gas stove with consistent heat? It took about 25 min on a coil-top stove for rounds 2 and 3 

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Disclosure: it’s supposed to take 5 minutes. It took me 20. The temperature kept dropping. I was using a heat diffuser which I discarded. The cream should curdle and thicken a bit. I found this part strangely difficult.

3. Cool to room temperature, either 20 min in a cold water bath or 45 min on the counter should do it.

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4. Dampen cheese cloth lightly with water and line strainer, 4 layers of cloth. Put bowl under strainer.

5. Plop the mixture into the centre of the cloth. Don’t push it down. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours.

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This looks much different from the first attempt where nearly half the “cheese” ran through the cloth within one second. You don’t believe that, do you? Here, preserved for posterity.

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If yours looks like that ^, go back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, go make some pastry or something.

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6. In the morning, cross your fingers and invert mass into container.

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Peel off cloth. Ah hah!

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Look at it, holding it’s shape and everything!

7. Stir well.

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8. Spread into pastry and garnish. I made some hot fudge sauce the other night and figured why not.

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Enjoy what you have wrought!

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Verdict: Definitely good. Making it at home is much more sensible than buying a wee-sized container. If I had some fresh fruit I’d put that in a pastry but I’m out of fruit at the moment. You really need to make sure the cream thickens, something so simple was surprisingly easy to ruin. I declare making this yourself to be worth the effort.

Playlist: Halo – Mjolnir mix

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