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Think Spring... and Mascarpone!

Spring is right around the corner and tulips and daffodils will be blooming soon. Along with Spring comes Easter, and both make me think of fresh fruit style desserts made with mascarpone cheese.  I have included one of my favorite fruit tart recipes below. It has that lemon fruity spring feel and will end any Easter dinner with a “Wow that was amazing!” to the one who prepared it! Another favorite recipe I enjoy is an easy appetizer spread made with the mascarpone cheese as a base. This recipe is also located below. The first time enjoying this appetizer I could not stop at just one or two samples it was so wonderful. Served with a nice bottle of Cabernet or Merlot and all is fabulous!   What is Mascarpone? Mascarpone (/ˌmæskɑrˈpn/ or /ˈmɑːskərpn/; Italian: [maskarˈpoːne]) is an Italian cheese made from cream, coagulated with citric acid or acetic acid After denaturation, whey is removed without pressing or aging. Mascarpone can be manufactured using cream and tartaric acid, citric acid, or even lemon juice. Mascarpone is recognized as a Prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (traditional regional food product). Mascarpone is milky-white in color and is easily spread. It is used in various dishes of the Lombardy region of Italy, where it is a specialty. It is a main ingredient of modern Tiramisù. It is sometimes used instead of butter or Parmesan cheese to thicken and enrich risotto.  Origins Mascarpone originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, Italy, southwest of Milan, probably in the late 16th or early 17th century. The name is said to come from mascarpa, an unrelated milk product made from the whey of stracchino (shortly-aged cheese), or from mascarpia, the word in the local dialect for ricotta (although mascarpone is not made from whey, as ricotta is).   Mascarpone on sale at Festival Foods in the deli from March 18th-31st, 2013   LAYERED GORG AND MASCARPONE PARTY SPREAD 12 oz. Belgioioso Plain mascarpone 3 Tablespoons Honey 5 oz. cup Belgioioso Crumbled gorgonzola ¾ cup Chopped walnuts ¾ cup Craisins Spread mascarpone on 8 inch plate (allow room at edge).  Top with honey (spread over mascarpone).  Sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola over honey.  Sprinkle walnuts over gorgonzola.  Sprinkle craisins over walnuts. Spread over tiny toast crackers. Strawberry Mascarpone Tart Recipe Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minute Cook time: 35 minutes Ingredients Crust 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if for a sweet recipe) 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 3 to 4 Tbsp. ice water, very cold  

  • Cut up a stick of butter into small cubes (about 1/2-inch) and put it into the freezer. The colder the butter the better luck you'll have with creating a flaky crust. Freeze the butter at least 15 minutes, better an hour, best overnight.
     Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.
  •  Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.
  • Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called "fraisage". Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky. Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough. Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour
  • When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out the pie dough and line a 10-inch tart pan with the dough. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with the tines of a fork. Freeze for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the tart shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill at least two-thirds with pie weights - dried beans, rice, or ceramic or metal pie weights. Bake initially for 15 minutes, then remove from oven, let cool enough to handle, and remove the aluminum foil or parchment paper and pie weights. Return to oven and cook until lightly browned at the edges, about 20 more minutes. Let cool completely.
  Filling and Glaze 2 lbs. strawberries, stemmed and quartered (May sub some of the strawberries w/Raspberries and Blueberries) 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 Tbsp. orange zest, divided 1 teaspoon lemon juice 12 ounces mascarpone cheese (can also use 8 ounces mascarpone mixed in with 4 ounces of ricotta or 4 ounces of whipped cream) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (substitute a teaspoon of lemon juice if you don't have a good quality balsamic)  
  • Gently combine strawberries, half of the orange zest, and the granulated sugar in large bowl so that the strawberries are coated with sugar. Let sit to macerate for 30 minutes.
  • Mix together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner's sugar, the remaining orange zest, lemon juice and the vanilla in a medium bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.
  • After the strawberries have macerated for 30 minutes, place a sieve over a bowl and drain the liquid out of the strawberry mixture into the bowl. Take that strawberry liquid and put it in a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the saucepan, and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Boil until the liquid has reduced to the consistency of syrup, remove from heat and let cool.
  • Assemble the tart. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strawberries on top of the mascarpone mixture. Use a pastry brush to brush on the balsamic glaze.


Fresh Mozzarella Stretching

I have mentioned the Fresh Mozzarella Stretching in our delis, we have been testing in stores and are ready to roll out in all stores on Saturday, March 23rd from 12(noon) to 4pm. Our deli experts will be producing and ready to stretch about 12:30 so stop by for a demonstration and sample our fresh mozzarella. We will also have the kits for you to take home and make yourself. We recently held a class at Green Bay Botanical Garden and had a blast! Our students were quick to learn and did a marvelous job making their own. We enjoyed Capresse salad, Capresse trays, and small picks with balsamic vinegar glaze.

Fresh Mozzarella

 Fresh Mozzarella

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