Monday, June 27, 2011

Berry Trifle with Lime Pound Cake and Ricotta Whipped Cream

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. Not only does it fall a few days after my birthday, guaranteeing a long weekend to enjoy it, but it's a holiday dedicated to the appreciation of a country where we can cook over an open flame by choice, booms and flashes of light are fireworks and not missile strikes, and people can gather for parties or protests without fear of persecution.

If you're headed to a cookout where all sorts of good things are cooked over that open flame before you ooh and aah over those fireworks, this red, white and blue trifle would be a great addition to the evening. Summery berries, rich pound cake with just the slightest hint of tartness and barely-sweetened cream whipped with thick ricotta are layered together to make a cool summer evening treat.

Berry Trifle with Lime Pound Cake and Ricotta Whipped Cream

What's in it:

1 c heavy whipping cream
1 c ricotta (part-skim works well here)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Lime pound cake (recipe follows), diced into 3/4-1" cubes
2 lbs strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 pints blueberries

How to make it:

Whip the cream with beaters or the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer. As the cream starts to fluff, add sugar and vanilla. When the whipped cream holds a peak as you pull the whisk out, add the ricotta and continue to whip until combined

In a steep-sided clear bowl*, place a layer of cake cubes in the bottom, followed by a layer of berries. Spread a layer of the whipped cream mixture over the berries. Repeat layers, and garnish with a few leftover berries. Chill until ready to serve

*Depending on the height and diameter of your bowl, you can make two or three repetitions of the layers, just make sure you decide ahead of time how deep you want the layers!

Lime Pound Cake
adapted from Serious Eats

What's in it

6 oz butter plus more for the pan, at room temperature
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of one lime
1 1/2 c sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for the pan
3 large eggs, at room temperature

How to make it:

Heat oven to 325°F. Generously grease a light-colored 9x5x3" loaf pan with butter. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar; turn pan to coat evenly with sugar, tap out any excess, and set aside. (The inside of the pan should be smoothly and evenly coated with butter and sugar, with no clumps or gaps.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring vessel with a pourable spout, combine milk, vanilla extract, and lime zest. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter at medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and beat until satiny smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 egg at a time to the butter mixture, beating 15 seconds before adding another, and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour and milk mixtures in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down sides of bowl; beat just until batter is smooth and silky but no more.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and firmly tap on a counter to allow batter to settle evenly. Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out moist but clean, about 1 hour. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack; let cool completely before cutting.

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