Yesterday was my father-in-law's birthday. One of his favorites is Chinese, so we picked up take-out and went over to Mr. ValleyWriter's parents' house for a little celebration. No birthday is complete without dessert (in my opinion), so I had offered to make something earlier in the week. Knowing some Chinese dishes (at least American-Chinese dishes) can be pretty heavy, I wanted to come up with something that would be light and refreshing.
Quite a few ideas ran through my head. A mimosa cake (champagne cake with an orange filling), tiramisu, lemon squares, etc. I thought something fruity was the best way to go and ended up deciding on a trifle. I thought lemon would add that perfect touch of lightness, so that was my main theme. Of course, berries are always a nice complement to lemon and added just the right amount of sweetness to this dish. And they make for a lovely presentation! This would also make a great Easter dessert (that's coming up next Sunday!).
Lemon Berry Trifle
2 cups raspberries
1 cup sliced strawberries
4 Tbsp. sugar,divided
1 loaf pound cake (recipe below)
2-3 Tbsp. limoncello liquor
1 1/2 c. lemon curd (recipe below)
8 oz. marscapone cheese, brought to room temperature
1 c. whipping cream
A few hours before you're ready to assemble (or the night before), mix raspberries, strawberries and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. (The sugar will bring out the juices from the berries.)
When ready to assemble, slice pound cake in half lengthwise (essentially cutting the top off). Then cut into 1-2" cubes. Brush limoncello lightly on top of cake cubes.
In a small bowl, mix lemon curd and room-temperature marscapone until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat 2 Tbsp. sugar and whipping cream until soft peaks form.
To assemble the trifle, place a layer of pound cake on the bottom of a trifle dish (or decorative bowl). Top with 1/2 of lemon curd & marscapone mixture. Add 1/2 of berries on top of that, then 1/2 of the whipped cream. Repeat to form a second layer.
Garnish with a few sliced strawberries, if desired.
Lightened-Up Pound Cake
(Pound cake is so named because it traditionally contained a pound of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. This recipe lightens things up, but keeps that dense texture pound cakes are known for.)
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 c. sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 c. fat-free greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 Tbsp. limoncello (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Add egg yolks, greek yogurt and limoncello. Beat until smooth. Then add flour and baking soda and mix just until combined.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. (Be sure to use clean beaters, otherwise the whites won't stiffen.)
Fold whites into butter/flour mixture just until you can't see anymore white.
Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. lemon juice (about 2 large lemons' worth)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 c. butter, melted
Bring about 1" of water to a boil in the bottom of a double boil (or medium-sized saucepan with a heat-proof bowl that fits on top without touching the water). In the top part, beat together eggs and sugar. Place over boiling water and slowly stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter. Continue whisking 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens. (While you don't have to whisk constantly, you do want to do it regularly to keep the eggs from cooking too quickly and getting chunky.)
Cool before using.