Smooth and delicious, it's perfect in desserts and savouries.
Cheese in any form is divine, but cream cheese is definitely one of the most diverse and flexible ingredients out there. Soft and – obviously – creamy, it's slightly sweet but with a tang that makes it feel fresh. Whether it's in a cheesecake or a savoury dip, cream cheese can rise to every challenge.
But if you find the store-bought versions a little pricey, then you’ll be glad to know that you can make your own at home with only 4 simple ingredients. Milk, cream, salt and an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. And you don’t need any fancy equipment either, just a saucepan and some cheesecloth or muslin.
Though simple, the process has quite a bit of kitchen chemistry going on and the addition of the acid helps in forming small curds if you stir consistently, all the milk will slowly solidify ready to be strained. It’s similar to the process of making homemade paneer, but it uses a bit more vinegar and the blending with the cream at the end is what makes it deliciously airy and light.
The beauty of making it at home means you can also add in any additional flavours you like. Add vanilla for desserts, or fresh fruit for a cheesecake filling or go savoury with garlic or chilli flakes, it’s all up to you!