Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese most famous for being a key ingredient in tiramisu, a coffee and chocolate dessert.
The mascarpone was created during the Renaissance in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. Because of its high saturated fat, this sweet and velvety cow’s milk cheese also provides a rich texture to savory meals.
If you don’t have mascarpone on hand or are looking for a healthier substitute, I have got you covered. I will go through some mascarpone substitutions to be prepared the next time you are in a pinch for mascarpone.
Please continue reading to learn more about mascarpone, its applications in recipes, and suitable substitutes.
What is Mascarpone
Mascarpone is a fresh cream cheese that is ivory in color, very smooth, and spreadable. It has a milky, slightly sweet flavor, and the high butterfat percentage results in a creamy, buttery mouthfeel (up to 75%).
Mascarpone is more expensive than everyday cream cheese, while American manufacturers make those made in the Italian style are less expensive than imported versions. Both can be found in the dairy or cheese area of many supermarkets and specialist cheese shops.
Commercial producers use the same easy procedure to make mascarpone that you can do at home but on a much greater scale. Adding any acid to fresh cream causes it to thicken, and the curds that form are gently cooked over low heat until they reach the consistency of crème fraîche.
Rather than relying on the thickening capacity of rennet, an enzyme generated in the stomachs of ruminant animals, mascarpone solidifies the cream with citric or tartaric acid.
Mascarpone Uses in Recipes
Mascarpone cheese adds a rich and creamy touch to sweet and savory meals. You can use it to top a bowl of fruit instead of whipped cream or icing for cakes or cupcakes. You can also make a cheesecake with it or use it in place of sour cream in banana bread or muffins.
See some delectable dishes and recipes you can employ mascarpone in:
- Sweet Honey and Mascarpone Dessert
- Mascarpone Cheesecake
- Mascarpone Pasta
- Mascarpone Cream
- Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
- The Creamiest Mascarpone Cheese
- Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone
- Chocolate and Mascarpone Yule Log
- Pasta with Mushrooms and Mascarpone
- Strawberry Mascarpone Tart
- Tiramisu Recipe with Homemade Mascarpone
- Stabilized Mascarpone Cream with Gelatin
- Creamy Spaghetti with Marinara & Mascarpone
- Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake
- Ricotta-Mascarpone Mousse with Balsamic Strawberries
- Mascarpone Scrambled Eggs with Garlic Toasts
Substitutes for Mascarpone in Tiramisu
Mascarpone is a smooth, creamy Italian cheese with a mildly sweet flavor frequently used in tiramisu. It is popular for its flavor and texture, but it’s also costly and rich in fat, calories, and cholesterol.
Several alternatives may be utilized to substitute mascarpone in tiramisu without compromising flavor or texture.
Crème fraîche is a traditional French ingredient that means “fresh cream” and can be used in mascarpone cheese.
Creme fraîche, on the other hand, is not as thick and fatty in texture as mascarpone, nor is it as rich. It also has a tangy flavor and is slightly more acidic than mascarpone cheese. Despite these little variations, it’s still a great substitute for mascarpone cheese.
Crème fraîche is a near alternative and is also lower in fat than mascarpone, with 60% to 75% fat. If you want to reduce your fat intake while still preparing a wonderful dish, creme fraiche is a great option.
Sour cream can be used as a mascarpone cheese alternative. Sour cream has a close texture to mascarpone, but it’s not as creamy because it’s less fatty. Because it has a sour flavor, it is better used in savory meals than in sweets and desserts.
Even when you use it in tiramisu, no one will realize you used old cream cheese instead of mascarpone.
However, there is a catch – you will need to add a little butter and whipped cream to the batter. Mascarpone-like milkiness, sweetness, and tanginess will ensue. However, although cream cheese contains roughly 33% milkfat, mascarpone contains 75%.
Cream cheese is a popular product that you’re likely to already have in your refrigerator, and it works well as a mascarpone cheese substitute.
However, cream cheese alone will not substitute for mascarpone, so you must add a few other ingredients.
Keeping this in mind, if you are replacing mascarpone with cream cheese, you will need to add both heavy whipping cream and sour cream to achieve the smooth texture of mascarpone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a difference between mascarpone and cream cheese?
While they are comparable in appearance and use, American-style cream cheese is firmer and has a more vibrant flavor than its Italian equivalent. Mascarpone has a looser, velvetier texture than double-crème brie and a richer mouthfeel. Mascarpone cheese has a 75% butterfat content, whereas American cream cheese has roughly 55%.
Mascarpone vs. cream cheese: which is better?
Mascarpone, sometimes known as “Italian cream cheese,” has a significantly richer, creamier flavor than “American” cream cheese due to its higher fat content. Because the cream cheese we use on bagels is somewhat more acidic than mascarpone, it’s ideal for cheesecakes.
Is it possible to consume mascarpone on its own?
Mascarpone cheese can be found in cheese stores and even supermarkets. Mascarpone is a triple cream cheese that isn’t something you’d eat every day. It’s produced using thick cream and citric acid, generally added. Of course, the flavor is rich, but the acidity balances it off well.
Mascarpone cheese is an excellent method to add a silky, creamy texture to various sweet and savory meals. Although mascarpone is best known for its use in the famous Italian dessert Tiramisu, it’s also great in various other foods.
Mascarpone cheese adds a silky, smooth texture to cakes, cheesecakes, and ganaches, and it may give your pasta dishes a creamy, rich sauce that your guests won’t be able to stop thinking about for weeks.
However, when you are in a pinch, you can use these efficient substitutes for mascarpone in tiramisu.