The Ingredient Switch For Mascarpone When Making Tiramisu

For those looking for a no-bake dessert that promises elegance and refinement of the highest order, tiramisu is the answer. However, one snag folks run into when making it, is sourcing the sometimes difficult-to-find ingredient, mascarpone. And while it may seem sacrilege to even think about using something other than this creamy Italian cheese to make this dessert, sometimes substitutions are necessary. Perhaps your local store was sold out, or your recent purchase went bad in the fridge. Whatever the reason, you need another option to swap in. So what should you turn to? 

Enter the French dairy standby, crème fraîche. Tangy yet luxurious, it's like the sophisticated, rich cousin of sour cream. The reason creme fraiche has a thicker, lusher texture is it has 30% milk fat, as opposed to sour cream's 20%. This richness makes it more comparable to mascarpone, meaning it works as a nice dupe for your tiramisu filling. The flavor will change in a slight way, but many find it a nice, acidic counterbalance to the other decadent elements. Above all else, that signature smooth texture is maintained. So how should you go about adding this French cream to your Italian dessert? 

Use creme fraiche as a tangy dupe for masarpone

First, let's tackle ratios. The substitution should work as a 1:1 ratio, with 1 cup of creme fraiche equal to 1 cup of mascarpone. And you'll add in the crème fraîche at the same time you would the mascarpone, usually folding it into the eggy custard. Like mascarpone, it would be best to bring crème fraîche to room temperature to mix smoothly and evenly into the filling. 

Though the two are comparable in level of richness and texture, there will be a slight change in flavor as creme fraiche has a significantly more acidic finish. Mascarpone, in contrast, is beloved for its mildly sweeter character. Still, look at this change in taste as an opportunity to experience a nuanced twist on the classic tiramisu flavor. This is easier and faster than making your own mascarpone, so it's worth a try. After all, it's better to have some delicious tiramisu than none at all.