Mascarpone cheese is a soft, creamy Italian cheese that is high in fat and low in moisture. It has a mild flavor and smooth texture, making it a popular ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. While mascarpone cheese doesn't freeze well on its own, you can ensure it freezes well so you can eat it later. Keep reading for guidelines on how to freeze mascarpone cheese!
In this post, we will discuss:
- The best way to freeze mascarpone cheese
- How to thaw frozen mascarpone cheese
- What dishes you can make with frozen mascarpone cheese
Keep reading for everything you need to know about freezing mascarpone cheese! But first, let's familiarize ourselves with this delicious cheese, so we know what we're working with.
Fast facts about mascarpone:
- Mascarpone is a type of Italian cream cheese.
- It is made from cow's milk and cream and uses citric or tartaric acid to solidify the cream.
- Mascarpone has a smooth, creamy texture.
- Desserts like tiramisu often include it.
- It originated in Italy.
- Mascarpone cheese is used in both sweet and savory dishes.
What is Mascarpone cheese?
Mascarpone (pronounced as mahs-car-POH-nay) is an Italian cheese made from cream. Mascarpone cheese is rich and creamy, with a mild flavor and a smooth texture similar to cream cheese. It is classified as fresh cheese, meaning it has a short shelf-life and should be consumed within a few days of purchase.
How is cream mascarpone cheese made?
Mascarpone cheese is a type of cheese that is made from cream. The cream is heated and then cooled down to allow the cheese to form. Next, the cheese is placed in a cloth bag and left to drain for a few hours. Once it has drained, the mascarpone cheese is ready to be eaten!
You can use mascarpone cheese in both sweet and savory dishes.
How does mascarpone get its creamy, thick texture?
Mascarpone cheese has a thick and creamy texture because of its production process. The cream is first heated and then combined with tartaric acid. This combination causes the cream to thicken and become very smooth.
After that, the mascarpone is placed in cheesecloth and left to drain. This process removes any excess water from the cheese, and it also helps to concentrate the flavors. It is this process that gives mascarpone its characteristic thick and creamy texture.
Can you freeze mascarpone cheese?
The answer is yes, but it's important to note that freezing changes the texture of the cheese. When frozen, mascarpone cheese becomes crumbly and dry. While this doesn't affect its flavor, it does alter its consistency.
For this reason, it's best to use frozen mascarpone cheese in cooked dishes, such as baked goods or sauces. The cheese will soften and become more spreadable when thawed, making it ideal for topping crackers or fresh fruit.
How to Freeze Mascarpone Cheese
Since mascarpone cheese is high in fat and low in moisture, it doesn't freeze well on its own. This is why it is necessary to freeze mascarpone cheese carefully.
However, there are a few steps you can take to help it freeze properly:
Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap. It will prevent freezer burn and keep the cheese from drying out. And then, double wrap with aluminum foil for extra protection. Freezer burn still has a chance of happening, even with the extra layer of protection.
Place the wrapped cheese in a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Freezer burn is less likely to occur when the bag has less air.
Label and date the bag, then place it in the freezer. You can store mascarpone cheese in the freezer for up to two months.
Extra tips when freezing mascarpone
Starting with a high-quality product is essential if you're planning to freeze your mascarpone cheese. Look for a brand made with 100% pure creams, such as Galbani or Fior di Latte. Avoid mascarpone cheese enriched with stabilizers or other additives, as these can affect the texture of the cheese when frozen.
An airtight container is essential when freezing mascarpone cheese. By doing so, the cheese will not dry out or absorb undesirable flavors or odors. If you're using a hard container, such as a plastic tub, wrap the cheese tightly in plastic wrap before sealing it. For soft containers, such as freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
Label your container with the date and contents, then place it in the freezer. Frozen mascarpone cheese will keep for up to three months. When ready to use it, thaw the cheese in the refrigerator overnight. You should use the cheese within two days of thawing.
How to thaw frozen mascarpone?
Place the frozen mascarpone in the refrigerator, allow it to thaw overnight, and use it within two days. Remember, do not refreeze unfrozen mascarpone cheese.
Why is that?
Upon thawing, the structure of the cheese changes, and it will not freeze well a second time. The fat globules in the cheese break down, and when thawed, the texture of the cheese is affected. The cheese will become grainy and have a slightly different flavor. For this reason, it's best to use thawed mascarpone cheese within two days and not refreeze it.
What happens when you freeze mascarpone?
When you freeze mascarpone, the water in it crystallizes and creates ice crystals. As a result, the cheese can become crumbly and dry, and its texture will change. While it's still safe to eat, it won't taste as good as fresh mascarpone.
You can avoid this by tightly wrapping it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Doing so will prevent cheese from getting ice crystals and ruining its texture.
What dishes can you make with frozen mascarpone cheese?
Now that you know how to freeze mascarpone cheese, put your new skills to the test with one of these delicious recipes:
This classic Italian dessert is made by layering coffee-soaked ladyfingers with a mascarpone cheese mixture. Be sure to thaw your cheese before using it in this recipe.
Make your own ravioli at home using a mascarpone cheese filling. Once thawed, the cheese will be the perfect consistency for stuffing your ravioli pockets.
Give your mashed potatoes a creamy makeover by stirring in some thawed mascarpone cheese—season to taste with salt and pepper. Check the recipe here.
Macaroni and Cheese:
Who doesn't love a classic mac and cheese? For an extra-creamy dish, stir in some thawed mascarpone cheese before adding the shredded cheddar. Yum! You can find the recipe here.
How long does mascarpone last?
Mascarpone cheese has a relatively short shelf life and should be consumed within a few days of purchase. However, storing it in the fridge can extend its shelf life. If stored properly, mascarpone cheese can last up to two weeks.
What is the difference between cream cheese and mascarpone?
Knowing the difference between cream cheese and mascarpone will help you understand how to use each recipe.
- The difference between cream cheese and mascarpone is that cream cheese is made with milk, and mascarpone is made with cream. Both are soft, spreadable cheeses, but mascarpone is richer and has a higher fat content. Due to its richness and thickness, mascarpone is more expensive than cream cheese.
- Cream cheese is also tangier than mascarpone, thanks to the addition of lactic acid. As a result, cream cheese tastes slightly sour.
- Mascarpone cheese is also sweeter than cream cheese, making it a better choice for dessert recipes.
- Cream cheese is typically sold in blocks, while mascarpone comes in tubs.
- Cream cheese can be used in savory or sweet recipes, while mascarpone is best suited for sweet dishes.
- Cream cheese is often used as a spread, while mascarpone serves as an ingredient.