Mascarpone cheese doesn’t have as much name recognition as cheese board favorites like Parmesan and cheddar. But if you can’t pass up a dessert offering of tiramisu when you’re at your favorite restaurant, chances are you love Mascarpone cheese without even realizing it. This decadent cheese is a favorite among bakers, but it’s not only for baking. Once you know all the ways you can use Mascarpone cheese and learn about the depth of its flavor and versatility, you’ll always want to keep a cup in your refrigerator.
What is Mascarpone cheese?
Mascarpone cheese is a soft, slightly sweet and a tad bit tart, spreadable cheese often described as an Italian sweet cream cheese. Mascarpone is probably most well-known as the key ingredient in Italian desserts like tiramisu and cannoli.
If you think Mascarpone is just like cream cheese, you’ll be surprised and probably delighted to learn Mascarpone is richer and sweeter. Mascarpone has a more velvety texture, lending it to easier spreading and opening up possibilities as both a cream cheese substitute and the star of its unique set of dishes.
But before we explore all you can do with Mascarpone, let’s take a look at how this indulgent cheese is made.
How is Mascarpone cheese made?
This Italian cheese originated in the Lombardy region in the Northern part of Italy, bordering Switzerland. The landscape of this part of Italy boasts large lakes and rolling mountainsides that lend to rich alpine pastures, creating some of the richest cow’s milk in the country. Here, centuries of artisan cheesemakers have created their recipes for some of Italy’s best-known cheeses, like Mascarpone.
The process for making this cheese usually involves heating heavy cream and adding citric acid to the mixture, which combines to create that signature texture and taste. Staying true to our commitment to quality cheese-making, Cello uses only the finest quality Wisconsin dairy products in our artisan approach to make high quality, delicious Mascarpone.
What are simple ways to use Mascarpone?
Mascarpone has been recently discovered by a new following of creative bakers and aspiring dessert aficionados as the star ingredient behind no-bake cheesecake. If your family and friends have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to try making some other treats with Mascarpone. Below are a few simple yet crowd pleasing suggestions for ways to showcase this cheese.
- Coffee topping: Keep some Mascarpone in your refrigerator for an easy and decadent addition to your morning coffee. Mascarpone topped coffee is also a great option to serve alongside dessert. If you love a routine stop at your favorite coffee spot but hate the long lines, try making this delicious Mascarpone espresso at home before you hit the road.
- Waffle topping: Whether you whip up homemade waffles on the weekend, or prefer a quick toaster style waffle, try topping your next one with a layer of Mascarpone and a drizzle of maple syrup. If you have guests, sprinkle some cinnamon on top or garnish with a sprig of mint for some extra flair that’s sure to impress.
- Peanut Butter and Mascarpone sandwich: Move over jelly, because peanut butter has met its match. Take two fresh or slightly toasted bread slices and spread one side with peanut butter and the other with Mascarpone. The result is added creamy sweetness that makes for a filling and tasty breakfast sandwich or a new take on a lunchtime classic.
- Straight up: Spoon some Mascarpone into a small bowl, drizzle with honey, and scatter some fresh fruit on top. This creamy and buttery cheese also makes a great dip for strawberries, raspberries, or any other seasonal fruit.
- Spread it on thick: Forget the butter. Scones, muffins, and cinnamon bread can all be elevated when spread with a little Mascarpone.
Take Mascarpone Up a Notch
Just because Mascarpone is known for its sweetness, doesn’t mean it should be relegated as a dessert only ingredient. You can incorporate this cheese into a variety of dishes.
Hors d’oeuvres: Simple dessert recipes can often also double as a sweet appetizer. The tang and texture of figs pair beautifully with velvety Mascarpone for a delicious hors d’oeuvres or a spotlight addition to your cheeseboard. For an easy display, serve some dried fruits and nuts with Mascarpone on the side.
Pasta and Potatoes: Carb lovers, rejoice! Just about every Italian cheese pairs well with pasta, but Mascarpone is often overlooked as a way to elevate and add creaminess to an everyday sauce. The creamy texture creates a velvety sauce for a variety of pasta types. Just add a couple spoonfuls of Mascarpone to your traditional tomato sauce next time and watch it transform to something far richer than basic spaghetti.
Mascarpone is so versatile it can be used in a number of potato dishes, too. Combine cream cheese with Mascarpone in twice baked potatoes or your family’s secret homemade mashed potato recipe to put your own twist on a classic dish.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out all the ways you can pair Mascarpone with food and drinks, and you’ll be cheesing confidently in no time.
Find Cello Cheese Mascarpone at your nearest store here, and download our guide below to learn how to incorporate it into a cheese board display that’s sure to be a hit with all of your fellow cheese lovers.