As the season continues to warm up, the shift in produce is becoming quite apparent during visits to the grocery store. There are a lot more varieties of fruit to choose from. And it’s actually ripe.

Our neighboring towns to the west aren’t ready to harvest any stone fruits just yet, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t eagerly awaiting the first pickings.

When I am working with fruit desserts there are two types of dairy products that I love to utilize as well: creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese.

Creme fraiche is a tangy, thick cream. It’s similar to a Greek yogurt or sour cream, but there’s just something a bit more nutty to it’s flavor. It has two ingredients- heavy cream and buttermilk.

Mascarpone cheese has a magnificent buttery flavor and is even thicker.

They’re both wonderful paired with fruit, and are super easy to make yourself at home. And for a lot less money.

I’ve made a batch of each and plan to use them in some delicious recipes this week.

How to make Creme Fraiche

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk

In a plastic container, whisk together the heavy cream and buttermilk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap so that it is airtight, and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature. Give the creme fraiche a stir, and if it is still runny, let it sit for another 24 hours. If it is thick, place in the refrigerator because it is ready to go! This makes about 4 cups and lasts, tightly covered, for about 2 weeks.

How to make Mascarpone Cheese

4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Over medium heat, bring the cream to 190 F, whisking it frequently to prevent scorching. When the cream reaches 190 F, add the lemon juice. Reduce heat slightly, and whisk it for about 10 more minutes until it is thick like a bechamel sauce. It will coat the back of a spoon. Let it cool to room temperature and pour through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Cover tightly and put it in the refrigerator overnight to drain. The next day, what’s left in the sieve is your mascarpone cheese. Pack into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 cups.

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