Cherries and homemade mascarpone

Cherries on a plate and in a crateMaking homemade mascarpone has been on my “to do” kitchen list for some time. Although I must admit this has no particular relationship to bright red cherries. I was inspired to combine both after a weekend shopping trip to the farmers market. A crate of red stone fruits and a few glass jars of organic cream were the spark for a perfect pair. Just how easy making mascarpone turned out to be was quite a surprise. Like so many “old-fashioned” cooking methods, the key to success is to following a few simple steps. The results unfold after an effortless wait. Homemade mascarpone is infinitely creamier and most definitely lighter than the store-bought version. From now on, I am making my own. Just like ricotta, any kind of fresh cream will do — whether from a goat, a cow or a sheep. I poured my pale yellow homemade mascarpone over hibiscus-soaked cherries while thinking of a classic”clafoutis”. Did I already mention I hope summer is forever?

Ingredients for mascarpone and marinated cherries

  • 750 ml fresh heavy organic cream
  • the juice of a half a lemon
  • the marrow of one vanilla bean or a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 250 grams of fresh cherries
  • one tablespoon of hibiscus tea
  • one tablespoon of raw honey

Cover a sieve with a piece of natural cheese cloth or a clean linen towel. Pour the cream into a sauce pan and simmer it at low heat for ten minutes, stirring regularly so that the cream does not burn on the bottom. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and add about two tablespoons.  Stir the cream and lemon a few more minutes and turn off the heat.

Drain the cream in the cheese-cloth covered sieve. Add the marrow of the vanilla bean or the vanilla extract. Allow the cream to cool to room temperature before covering it with the excess cheese cloth. Chill the mascarpone in the refrigerator for two to four hours.

Meanwhile wash the cherries and remove the stones by cutting them in half. Boil 200 ml of water, turn off the heat and add the hibiscus leaves. Steep for ten minutes and remove the hibiscus leaves. Stir in the honey until it dissolves in the tea. Marinate the cherries in the hibiscus tea a few hours. Strain the cherries and put them in your favorite bowl. Drizzle over the mascarpone and serve.

Cherries and mascarpone

Suggested combinations

Use homemade mascarpone for sweet or savory dishes, using it just like crème fraîche or sour cream. 

Make a cherry stone vinegar by roasting the stones in the oven 10 minutes at 150 degrees. Put them in a jar and cover them with your favorite vinegar. Allow the two ingredients to steep a few days before using. Keep the vinegar in the refrigerator.

Notes

750 ml of cream makes about 225 ml mascarpone. Save the whey to make a smoothie or add it to risotto. Save your mascarpone in a glass jar with a lid on it for up to five days in the refrigerator.

P.S.

The recipe for homemade mascarpone was first published in the Dutch edition of jamie magazine nl on May 29th, 2015.

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