The beauty of making food from scratch is that you know exactly what’s in it. And, you have a better chance of knowing from where the raw ingredients are sourced. You are able to seek out local producers, for example, of eggs, vegetables, fruit, sources of protein, and dairy products.
This is exactly the reason that I make mascarpone with only two required ingredients; organic heavy cream and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Yes, it takes time but the majority of that time is unattended. And, yes you have to plan ahead if you want to make that tart with a mascarpone cream topped with fresh fruit.
Adapted from a dozen sources.
Yields about 1 1/2 cups
4 cups heavy cream, pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized)
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
In a large saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium high heat, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reads 190°F. The cream should be just at a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to keep the heat at 190°F or as close as possible for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
The cream should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, place a strainer lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth over an empty bowl. Pour the cream into the cheesecloth, cover with plastic wrap, and place back in the refrigerator.
Allow the cream to drain for 8-12 hours, or preferably overnight. When the mascarpone has finished draining, discard the whey and transfer the cheese to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Use fresh mascarpone cheese within the week.