If the weather keeps up this wacked out pattern, it will be berry season in two weeks.  So, in order to prepare you for the possible early bounty of climate change, let’s make some mascarpone to go with those early season berries!

We are not experts, this is just what we did and we liked the result. It’s one of the easiest cheeses to make as long as you get the right ingredients.

1 Quart of half and half or other light creamPasteurized is fine, but NOT ultra-pasteurized.  If it’s UP, it will say so on the bottle/carton.  I found some at Fresh Market, I’m sure Whole Foods has it, and if you have a raw milk source…I’m sure that would be amazing..haven’t tried it yet. For the record, we did make a batch with half ultra-pasteurized whipping cream and half regular pasteurized milk, and it worked, but didn’t perform as well.

1/4 teaspoon of Tartaric AcidNOT Cream of Tartar.  Locally, I’ve been told All Seasons Gardening and Brewing carries it.  We got ours from a cheesemaking kit we had forgotten about!  Some people like to make it with lemon juice, but we decided to stick with what our cheesemaking book told us.

So don’t you like how both of the ingredients involve me getting all bossy about what NOT to get? Do you know how easy it is to typo MasCRAPone? Yeah, I thought so. Moving on…..

Get a double boiler going and heat the cream until the temperature reaches 185°.  Add your Tartaric Acid, whisk, remove from the heat and pour into a sieve topped with moistened layers of fine cheesecloth or butter muslin. Let cool, and refrigerate covered for about 12 hours.  Best used within a week…Enjoy!!

Yum.  I added fresh mint to one batch and it was nice, but not as minty as I was expecting. The cheese overwhelmed it a bit. (Yes, I actually have mint right now..crazy).  Experiment with flavors you like and have fun.

2/10/12 UPDATE:  I had a batch recently that wasn’t as smooth in texture as I wanted, and by putting it in a small food processor (a stick blender might work too) the texture smoothed out and fixed it!