This month for the Recipe Redux, the theme was based around the Oscars. We were to create a healthy recipe inspired by a movie or favorite food scene.
I started thinking of appetizer/snacky type of foods. If you were going to an Oscars party, isn’t that what you would bring? I don’t know – I’m going to be working!
Mascarpone cheese is such a treat, but can be very expensive when you buy it in the store! Lucky for you, it really is not that expensive – or hard – to make yourself! Mascarpone cheese is traditionally made with heavy cream — I lightened it up by making with half and half.
Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
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1 quart organic half and half
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pour the half and half into a heavy bottomed, medium-sized saucepan. Bring up the temperature to 190 degrees.
I am paranoid about my milk burning, so I put 1 inch of water in a large skillet, and put my pan inside the skillet – to act as a double boiler.
When the half and half reached 190 degrees, add in the lemon juice and stir to combine. It will look like there are a lot of little curds in it.
Place a lid on the mixture, and remove from the stove. Let the mixture cool. When it becomes room temperature, place in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
The next day, the mixture will be thick. Pour into a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Let it drain for a few hours – until it reaches the consistency that you would like. You can keep it draining until it gets as thick as you want.
After it drained for about 1 hour, I hung it from the faucet on the sink. This allowed me to “wring” it and get out all the moisture.
When the cheese is the consistency you want, place in the fridge.
I decided to stuff some strawberries with the cheese! It just seemed like such a decadent dessert, something Oscar-worthy!
Mascarpone Cheese Stuffed Strawberries
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1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
1 tbsp honey
In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, mint and honey. Using an electric mixer, whip the mixture until it is smooth and creamy.
Place the mixture in a Ziploc bag, and cut off the very tip to make it easy to pipe into the strawberries. You can also place in a pastry bag, but I didn’t have one, and I thought the Ziploc bag worked well!
Wash and pick through the strawberries. Try to pick ones that stand on their blossom end straight up, and that are small/medium sized. I think this snack is best when you can eat the strawberries in a couple bites – if the strawberries are too big it gets to a little much.
Make a cut straight down through the strawberry, about 3/4 of the way down. Rotate the strawberry 90 degrees, and make another cut, basically cutting the strawberry in fourths.
Using the Ziploc bag, pipe the cheese into the strawberry. You can make it as fancy or as plain as you want. Garnish with shaved chocolate, shredded coconut, or even sliced almonds or chopped pecans!
Optional: try placing them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. The cheese will firm up, and it is a nice frozen treat!
As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. As the Latin term “redux” means to revisit or reinvent, we are reinventing the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach. We aim to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover.