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Mascarpone Cheese: Everything You Need to Know About It!

Mascarpone cheese or mascarpone is a specific cheese originating in Italy. It is an acid-set that forms by adding inoculum or an acid. Thus, the process of producing this cheese is simplified. Mascarpone cheese falls under the category of cream cheese, which means that they purely make it of cream and milk. Mascarpone is strikingly similar to cream cheese but is not the same. The texture of mascarpone cheese is such that you can use it in sweet, salty and spicy foods. 

Mascarpone cheese originated around the 17th century. Manufacturers make it from heavy cream and acid. The process of making mascarpone cheese involves the addition of an acid, precisely citric acid, to heavy cream. Therefore, this activates the lactic acid bacteria that gives the creamy texture. Owing to this, it has a high-fat content. 

Nutritional Facts of Mascarpone Cheese

According to the research of USDA, 100g of mascarpone contains the following nutritional properties. 

Energy: 429 kCalProtein: 7.14 gFat: 50 gCarbohydrate: 0 gSodium: 36 mgFatty Acids: 35.7 gCalcium: 143 mgCholesterol: 143 mgFibre: 0 g

A few of these nutrients are below. 

Calories

Mascarpone cheese derives calories from two parts- protein and fat. Fat contributes majorly, while proteins contribute a minuscule amount to the calories. 

Fats

Mascarpone cheese is a high-fat product. It contains a good amount of fat that can increase cholesterol in your body. A single tablespoon of mascarpone cheese contains approx 20 mg of dietary cholesterol. Therefore, if you have high cholesterol, you should avoid consuming it. 

Vitamins/ Minerals

The only eye-catching mineral part is that mascarpone contains a good amount of calcium. As a result, it can aid in bone formation and regulate your body’s daily calcium metabolism. It also contains Vitamin A, which may be beneficial to your body. 

Health Benefits of Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese is a heavy/high-fat-based food, but it contains several nutritional benefits, as listed below. 

Mascarpone Cheese Prevents Vitamin A Deficiency

Many people are unaware that mascarpone cheese contains Vitamin A that aids the body’s defence mechanism and increases immunity. In addition, vitamin A also shows antioxidant properties. Although nutritionists recommend foods rich in vitamin A to pregnant women, such high-fat products are not healthy for pregnant women. 

Helpful in Preventing Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is an integral part of every dairy-based product. The calcium content in mascarpone is not very high, yet it provides enough calcium that can satisfy the daily requirement. According to the National Kidney Foundation report, calcium can bind with oxalate in the stomach and intestines before moving to the kidneys. Hence, eating foods with calcium is a good way for oxalates to leave the body and not form stones. Since mascarpone contains calcium, consuming it in appropriate quantities might prevent the occurrence of kidney stones. It also helps prevent osteoporosis and strengthen the teeth.

Helps in Gaining Muscle and Weight

If you are looking for ways to gain muscle or weight, you have arrived at the right place. Mascarpone cheese is a high-fat product that will help you gain weight. Thus, medical professionals advise patients recovering from surgery or any illness to consume mascarpone cheese to gain body mass. Moreover, you can consult your dietician and include the right amount of mascarpone cheese in your diet to gain weight. 

Mascarpone Cheese Provides Essential Amino Acids

Usually, there are two subdivisions of amino acids, essential and non-essential. Non-essential amino acids are already present in your body, and essential amino acids you need to consume separately. These amino acids aid in protein synthesis. By consuming mascarpone cheese, you would fulfil your requirement for essential amino acids. Thus, your daily protein goal is satisfied. 

Easy to Digest

If any dairy product does not involve the curdling process, it becomes difficult for your intestine to digest the product. But that is not the case with mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone cheese undergoes the curdling process. Thus, biochemically, the proteins and minerals present change and get simplified. As a result, the body can easily digest this simplified form. 

Gluten-Free

Mascarpone cheese is gluten-free. Hence, people following a gluten-free diet with proteins and minerals can include mascarpone cheese in their diet. Furthermore, according to some studies, mascarpone cheese is the best butter substitute. 

Nutrient Absorption

Mascarpone cheese can improve nutritional absorption. While many of the body’s essential vitamins are water-soluble, your body can only dissolve the others in fat. For instance, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins. As a result, foods with high-fat content, like mascarpone, are ideal for facilitating the absorption of these nutrients into the body.

Promotes Feeling of Fullness

Mascarpone cheese contains high fat, just like most dairy products. Hence it leaves you with a sense of fullness owing to its heavy cream base. As a result, mascarpone cheese can enhance the flavour of any savoury or sweet meal.

Ways to Use Mascarpone cheese

Mascarpone cheese is versatile, and you can use it in sweet and salty dishes. Also, there are several ways to use it. A few of them are listed below. 

Mascarpone cheese is creamy, so you can easily use it to top other dishes. Thus it is used in several traditional Italian dishes, especially in Lombardy cuisine. You can mainly use it in the famous Italian dish- tiramisu and Italian custards.You can use it as a healthy alternative to cream cheese in cheesecakes. You can use it as a frosting/ icing for your desserts and cakes. You can directly use it as a dessert with some fruit as a topping. Using mascarpone cheese and some intensely flavoured foods like chocolates or espresso is wiser as it balances the taste. 

Recipes Using Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese can be made directly at home as you need equal quantities of heavy cream and citric acid (lemon juice). However, as it contains a high amount of fat, a few high-fat diet recipes are available. Out of which, we bring you two mascarpone recipes which are easy to make. This recipe list includes one savoury and one sweet mascarpone dish. 

This recipe falls under the category of a three-ingredient recipe that is relatively easy to make. 

Servings- 4 to 5

Preparation Time- 10 to 20 minutes

Baking Time- 25 to 30 minutes

Total time- 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

Eggs: 3 (Large- Separate the egg whites and egg yolks)Mascarpone cheese: 90 to 100 gSea Salt: ⅛ tspCream of Tartar (optional): ⅛ tsp

Procedure

Firstly, you need to preheat the oven to 300 Degrees (Fahrenheit). Then, keep aside the baking sheet by greasing it and placing a baking sheet/ parchment paper. Now, take a large bowl and use an electric beater to mix the egg whites and cream of tartar.Mix the egg yolks, sea salt, and mascarpone cheese in another bowl. Now, fold the egg whites using a spatula. This folding step would ensure air bubbles don’t break inside the mixture. Shape the mixture into 6 to 7 discs.Place it on the baking sheet for around 25 to 30 minutes. As soon as the discs become golden, wait for them to cool down and serve. 

Tiramisu (Keto Sweet Recipe)

Tiramisu is one of the most famous recipes in Italian cuisine. Also, the recipe includes mascarpone cheese. It is a traditional Italian recipe. Although it takes time to make this dish, it is worth the effort.  

Servings- 8 to 9

Preparation Time- 20 minutes

Cooking Time- 40 to 45 minutes

Total Time- 1hr 

1 Cup- Around 200ml

Ingredients

Cake:

Unsalted Butter: ⅓ cupEggs: 3 LargeVanilla Extract:1 tspAlmond Flour: 1½ cupMonk Fruit Sweetener: ⅓ cupHeavy Cream (Room Temperature): ¼ cupSea Salt: ⅛ tspBaking Powder: 1 tsp

Filling:

Egg Yolks: 4 large Monk Fruit Sweetener: 3 tbspHeavy Cream (Cold): 1 cupCocoa Powder: ½ tspMascarpone cheese: 1 cup

Drizzle:

Espresso: ¼ cup

Procedure

Firstly, let’s begin with the cake. 

Cake:

To begin with, preheat the oven to 350 Degrees (Fahrenheit) and line a square pan with a baking sheet/ parchment paper. Take a bowl and start beating the butter and monk fruit sweetener together. Once it feels fluffy, stop beating the mixture. Now, start beating the heavy cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. Then, add on the salt, baking powder, and almond flour. Once this mixture gets smooth, transfer it to the pan and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes. When the dough turns golden brown, stop baking it. 

Now, let’s move on to the filling part. 

Filling:

While the cake is baking, you can prepare the filling. First, you must mix the sweetener and egg yolks in a boiler placed over boiling water. Under low flame, heat this mixture for 10 minutes. On stirring constantly, the mixture will get lighter in colour and will show a frothy texture. Whip the egg yolks once the mixture is removed from the boiler to increase the volume. After a few minutes, leave this mixture to cool down. Now, start whipping the heavy cream in a bowl. Add the mascarpone cheese to the yolk and beat until they are well mixed. Now, combine the whipped cream and mascarpone egg yolk mixture through folding motion. 

Finally, assemble everything you have just prepared using the following steps. 

Combination/ Assemble:

After transferring the cake to the cutting board, cut it into two rectangular halves. Now take half the cake and top it up with the cream. Next, place the other half on top of this and top that too with cream. Take some cocoa powder and sift it on top of the tiramisu. Refrigerate/ Freeze it for 8 to 10 hours. Then, drizzle the espresso mixture, and the tiramisu is ready to be devoured. 

Precautions and Things to Keep in Mind

There are specific side effects concerning the amount of fat involved in mascarpone cheese listed below. All these adverse effects are only possible if you exceed the prescribed quantity. 

Lactose Intolerance

Few people are allergic to mascarpone cheese as it is a dairy product at the end of the day. The only concern regarding mascarpone cheese is lactose intolerance. For any dairy product in your diet, you must know how your body reacts to it,  as every dairy product contains lactose. Even if you drain out the whey part of the mascarpone cheese, it still contains lactose. If you are moderately lactose intolerant, you can try including mascarpone cheese gradually. But if the intolerance is severe, you must avoid mascarpone cheese. You may start experiencing allergic symptoms by including mascarpone cheese in your lactose-intolerant diet.

Heart Health

It is a well-known fact that mascarpone cheese majorly consists of fat. This fat can impact your body’s cholesterol level, damaging your heart health. It can lead to chronic heart diseases, including atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. 

Impacts the weight loss plan

Even if there are few benefits to mascarpone cheese, it is undeniable that it contains a good amount of lipids/ fats. Thus, it can impact the weight loss program. Therefore, it is wiser to avoid mascarpone cheese if you are trying to lose weight. 

Storage/Safety Tips regarding Mascarpone Cheese

You should consume mascarpone cheese within 30 days of manufacturing.On opening, you should consume the product within a week. Mascarpone cheese should always be refrigerated whether you have opened it or not. With cheese, you can easily identify if it is expired. The smell and occurrence of mould over it are the signs of an expired product. 

Conclusion

Despite being a high-fat product, mascarpone cheese carries some significant health benefits. It is fit for those who are looking for a fat-based diet. Others can use mascarpone cheese as a cheat meal once in a while but in moderation. Dieticians and nutritionists recommend low-fat cream cheese and ricotta cheese as a replacement for mascarpone cheese as these are low in fat content. Anyone except lactose intolerant patients can consume mascarpone cheese as it has no potential side effects if consumed appropriately. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is mascarpone a healthy cheese?

A. No, mascarpone is not included under the healthy cheese category owing to the amount of fat. It falls under the highest fat content cheese categories. Mascarpone cheese can be detrimental to heart health if you increase your daily consumption. The only health benefit of consuming mascarpone cheese is the presence of vitamins and calcium. 

Q. Why is mascarpone good for you?

A. Yes, mascarpone has few health benefits. The most prominent one is that mascarpone’s calcium and vitamin A content is high. Also, calcium ensures the prevention of osteoporosis and strengthens the enamel of your teeth. It also prevents kidney stones. Vitamin A aids in the defence mechanism of your body. 

Q. Is Mascarpone cheese healthier than cream cheese?

A. No, mascarpone cheese is not healthier than cream cheese as it contains 25% more fat than cream cheese. Yet mascarpone cheese is only preferred for its extra smooth texture. You can use cream cheese and mascarpone cheese for salty and sweet dishes. 

Q. Does mascarpone make you fat?

A. Yes, mascarpone contains a high amount of fat that can increase your body’s BMI (Body Mass Index). In addition, if you consume over the permissible limit, this fat/ cholesterol can clog your arteries, damaging your heart health. Hence, it is best to eat mascarpone cheese in moderate quantities. 

A. While comparing mascarpone and yoghurt, low-fat Greek yoghurt is always the better option as it is low in lipid content. But if you are keen on replacing yoghurt with mascarpone, you can, as mascarpone is slightly smoother than yoghurt. Usually, you can not entirely replace yoghurt. Instead, it is mixed with mascarpone and then used in a recipe. 

Q. What is Mascarpone cheese’s nutritional information?

A. According to USDA, Mascarpone cheese has the following nutrients.

Energy: 429 kCalProtein: 7.14 gFat: 50 gCarbohydrate: 0 gSodium: 36 mgFatty Acids: 35.7 gCalcium: 143 mgCholesterol: 143 mgFibre: 0 g

It is apparent that mascarpone majorly contains fat and cholesterol. Yet the presence of calcium and vitamins adds to the nutritional benefits. 

Q. Which is healthier: Ricotta or Mascarpone?

A. In comparing ricotta and mascarpone, ricotta emerges as the healthier alternative as it has half the fat and calorie content of mascarpone. Therefore, this makes it easier to bake/ cook and is light on the heart. Moreover, ricotta consists of milk and whey. In contrast, mascarpone consists of heavy cream and citric acid. 

Q. Is Mascarpone cheese high in calories?

A. Mascarpone cheese is higher in calories than ricotta cheese, cream cheese or low-fat cream cheese. The calorie content in Mascarpone cheese is 429 kcal per 100g, along with 50 g of fat. Therefore, this can lead to dire consequences if consumed excessively. 

Q. Is Mascarpone cheese unhealthy?

A. Anything in excess is fatal. Hence, the fat content can prove to be dangerous to your heart. But in a broader aspect, vitamins and calcium can be beneficial. It would be best to consume mascarpone cheese in moderate/ prescribed quantities. Thus, consult a dietician before consuming mascarpone cheese. 

Q. Can you be allergic to Mascarpone cheese?

A. Mascarpone cheese is a dairy product that contains animal protein. Hence there is no practical allergy concerning it. The only limiting factor is that lactose-intolerant people are advised against it as they experience the allergic symptoms related to dairy products. You can only be allergic to mascarpone cheese if you are allergic to other dairy products.

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