Sweet Mascarpone and Berries with Lemon Ganache
If you're looking for a fast and easy yet elegant dessert recipe, this one is for you. I usually make this dessert to please my little 9-year-old sister-in-law who is allergic to eggs.
The rich cinnamon-flavored mascarpone mixture with the refreshing combination of blackberries and blueberries makes a very festive sweet treat for little kids and big kids as well.
To give more body to the dessert, I sprinkle a layer of coarsely-crumbled Italian puff pastry and top with a layer of lemon ganache. The result is to die for!
Yields: 12 servings1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons raspberry extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups blueberries
2-1/2 cups blackberries
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons pistachio kernels (optional), coarsely crushed
3 tablespoons grenadine syrup
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon extract
1 drop mint extract
12 Italian puff pastry, coarsely crumbled
1/3 cup lemon apeels
1/4 cup heavy cream, as needed (depending on how soft you want the ganache to be)
3 drops red food coloring (optional)
For the mascarpone:
In a mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese to soften the product. Add the vanilla and raspberry extracts.
Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. Just make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping the cream for an optimum result. The whipping cream should be whipped cold. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add 6 tablespoons of superfine sugar.
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the sweetened whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to get an airy batter.
Plastic-wrap the container and place in the refrigerator until the rest of the components of the dessert are ready.
For the berries:
In a small saucepan, mix the rest of the superfine sugar with about 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat as soon as all the sugar is dissolved and becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat. Add the cinnamon extract and the drop of mint extract. Let the syrup cool completely.
Place the blueberries in another mixing bowl. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Coat them in 1/2 the amount of syrup. Toss well. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes until the juices begin to flow.
Repeat the same procedure with the blackberries. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Coat them in 1/2 the amount of syrup. Toss well. Set aside.
For the ganache:
Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Immediately add the lemon apeels. Stir until everything is dissolved. Add the drops of red food coloring. Let the mixture cool completely. If the ganache is too thick you can thin the sauce with 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
Reserve about 1/2 cup of blueberries for decoration later.
Gently add about 1 tablespoon of the sweet juices from the blueberries and black berries into the mascarpone filling. This step is not essential but it adds a nice fruity aroma and slightly sweetens the mascarpone a little more.
Fill 12 5-ounce footless brandy glasses with 1 tablespoon of blueberries. Add about 2 tablespoons of mascarpone mixture. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of grenadine syrup. Sprinkle with Italian puff pastry and 2 teaspoons of pistachio powder (if used). Add about half a dozen blackberries. Cover with another layer of mascarpone filling. Seal the glass with about a tablespoon of peach-colored lemon ganache. Plastic-wrap each individual container and place in the refrigerator for at about an hour (Don't refrigerate for too long otherwise the puff pastry will become soggy).
When serving, garnish each glass with some blueberries.
I buy Italian puff pastry cookies at my local market but you can also find them online. I use this particular Italian cookie because its texture is easily crumble-able (is that even a word?). You can use regular ladyfingers but I think it would require a longer time in the refrigerator to get the cookie to soften. You can use the extra puff pastry for the garnish of a banana mousse.
If you have extra mascarpone and a little leftover coffee from the morning, you can make my mother-in-law's favorite dessert, a tiramisu parfait.
Grenadine syrup is a sweet, red thick syrup made from pomegranates. It's fairly common in France but not so available in the US. I'm lucky that my local market carries it. I use the syrup for my rose panna cotta with crunchy French pralines. You don't have to add the syrup but I think it brings some sweetness and I think it makes a better visual in the glass. When you drizzle the grenadine syrup, make sure to drizzle the syrup all the way around the inside of the glass to get a nice marble swirl.
I used Guittard lemon apeels for the ganache. I got them directly from my local market at the Milk Pail Market, 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040, but you can order through eBay if you can't find them. I added red food coloring for a fun contrast in color with the blueberries. Make lemon peel crème brulées with the rest of the lemon peel chocolate chips.
Blackberries, blueberries, grenadine syrup and raspberry extract were the items I had on hand but you can certainly substitute any other fruits, nectars, syrups or extracts you might have.
I omit the pistachios for allergy reasons but you can add some coarsely crushed pistachios for a bit more crunch.
Superfine sugar is very convenient for desserts. It's also called caster sugar or baker's sugar. It dissolves more quickly than the regular sugar. You can find it in any regular stores like Safeway. My little trick for an easy cleanup when I heat any dairy liquid like heavy cream, is to add a drop of water to the saucepan prior to adding the cream. Bring the water to a boil (right before it evaporates), then immediately add the cream. I usually don't get burnt cream at the bottom of the saucepan.
Superfine sugar is very convenient for desserts. It's also called caster sugar or baker's sugar. It dissolves more quickly than the regular sugar. You can find it in any regular stores like Safeway.
My little trick for an easy cleanup when I heat any dairy liquid like heavy cream, is to add a drop of water to the saucepan prior to adding the cream. Bring the water to a boil (right before it evaporates), then immediately add the cream. I usually don't get burnt cream at the bottom of the saucepan.
Published By: on July 2, 2009.