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Mascarpone Cheese

Overview 

Mascarpone cheese is a rich, fresh cheese that is a relative of both cream cheese and ricotta cheese. Mascarpone cheese is prepared in a similar fashion to ricotta, but using cream instead of whole milk. The cream is acidified (often by the direct addition of tartaric acid) and heated to a temperature of 85·C, which results in precipitation of the curd. The curd is then separated from the whey by filtration or mechanical separation. The cheese is lightly salted and usually whipped. Note that starter culture and rennet are not used in the production of this type of cheese.

Mascarpone cheese is a soft white cheese with a slightly acidic taste and a smooth texture similar to stiff whipped cream. The fat content of mascarpone cheese is very high.


Composition

A sample composition for mascarpone cheese would be 50% fat, 3% protein and 5% carbohydrate.

In terms of microbiological standards, all cheeses made from a pasteurized source must contain fewer than 100 Escherichia coli per gram and fewer than 100 Staphylococcus aureus per gram.

 

Application Based on End Use

The high fat content and smooth texture of mascarpone cheese make it suitable as a substitute for cream or butter. Ingredient applications of mascarpone cheese tend to focus on desserts. The most famous application of mascarpone cheese is in the Italian dessert tiramisu.

  • Mascarpone cheese can be layered in tiramisu or used as a filling in desserts such as tarts and cheesecake. The richness and mild flavour of the cheese are the important properties for these applications.
  • Mascarpone cheese can be used in pasta sauces. The fat content of the cheese adds to the richness of the sauce.
  • Mascarpone cheese can be used to thicken and add richness to items such as soups or risotto.
  • Mascarpone cheese can be used as a spread in place of butter or margarine. The advantage of this substitution is the lower fat content of the mascarpone compared to the butter and margarine.
  • Mascarpone cheese can be blended into dips to add viscosity and mild flavour.
  • Mascarpone cheese can be used as a dessert topping in the same way as whipped cream.
  • Mascarpone can be frozen into ice cream, substituting for cream in the mix formulation.


Functional Properties

  • Mascarpone cheese can be used to add richness and creaminess to products.
  • The high fat content of mascarpone cheese provides lubrication when used as a spread.
  • Mascarpone cheese can add mild flavour to products.

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