Q. Every special occasion, I make a traditional Italian dessert that uses mascarpone cheese as an ingredient. I buy a small tub of it, but always end up with some mascarpone cheese left over from the recipe. I don’t use it very often, but would like to keep the leftovers to use in desserts throughout the year if I could. I have thought about freezing it, but my mother insists that it would ruin the cheese. Mascarpone is fairly expensive, so I wouldn’t want to waste money by freezing it just to see it ruined. Can you freeze mascarpone cheese?
A. Don’t tell your mother I said so, but she is incorrect. You can freeze mascarpone cheese without ruining it, and then use it successfully in any type of recipe you prefer. Mascarpone cheese is a thick, spreadable-type Italian cheese that has a mild flavour and is often used in desserts. Its creamy texture is what makes it so special, so it’s important when freezing it to try and preserve as much of the original texture as possible. It’s imperative that you take every precaution to avoid freezer burn. Be aware that mascarpone’s high fat content will lead it to separate somewhat during the freezing process, and you will have to do a bit of work to bring it back to its original creaminess.
Freezing mascarpone cheese is fairly simple. First, start with the freshest cheese possible. Give the cheese a good stir to make sure there isn’t any separated liquid when you freeze it. Next, scoop the mascarpone cheese into freezer bags or hard-sided freezer safe containers. If using freezer bags, be sure not to place anything heavy on top of the cheese. Seal the bag or container, then label and date it. Mascarpone cheese should only be kept frozen for a few months.
To use frozen mascarpone cheese, it’s important to allow it to thaw out in the fridge. Remove the cheese from the freezer at least 8-12 hours before you plan to use it. It’s unsafe to thaw dairy products at room temperature. Once the cheese has thawed completely, spoon it into a good sized bowl. The cheese will probably have separated and may have a bit of a grainy texture. Using a whisk or hand beaters, whip the cheese until it reincorporates and regains its former texture. Now the cheese is ready to use in your favourite recipes.