In my last post, I told you how to make clotted cream. The Italians have a similar milk-based spreadable product called mascarpone. It is a cheese made by removing the whey from cows milk and then coagulating it with the addition of an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. For reasons I don't understand, fresh mascarpone sold in US markets is ridiculously expensive. However, it is easy to make it yourself. Here is how.
Put a couple of layers of cheesecloth in a strainer and set the strainer over a bowl. Then heat a cup of heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized) in a pot to 190° using a thermometer to ensure the temperature is accurate. Do it slowly, being careful that the cream does not burn. Add 1.5 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and cook 5 minutes at 190°. The mixture should thicken a bit. Remove from heat and let it sit until the mixture gets to room temperature, about 20 minutes. You can hasten this process by setting the pan in an ice water bath for a few minutes.
Pour the mixture into your cheesecloth lined strainer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next morning you should have perfect mascarpone that is as good as most commercial products.
You can make phony mascarpone using cream cheese, cream and sour cream. Put 8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature, 1/4 cup of drained sour cream and 2 Tbs of heavy cream in a food processorm and process until smooth. Doesn't get much easier.
If you are interested in making this type of product, I recommend that you go to the website http://www.cheesemaking.com/Mascarpone.html for an in-depth presentation from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.