In these crazy days? We need to have our boundaries clearcut. I make myself a to-do list every day. I have a list of things I’d like to do to take care of myself each month, ya know…. emotionally, physically, financially because I’m grown. I also have a list of ‘absolutely nots’. A causal list of things that are a no-go for me here and now. On the list of ABSOLUTELY NOTS this week:
• Turning on the oven.
• Leaving my house at noon for any reason other than ice cream or sno-balls.
• Wearing a bra.
• Settling for less than I deserve (though that’s on the list every week).
It’s July in New Orleans and we aren’t stressing the summer weather but we also aren’t adding to it with ovens and bras, ya know?
Maybe you’re feeling the weight of summer too. Let’s just let everything slow a bit. This week’s recipe works within our ABSOLUTELY NOTS. We’re going to no-bake our way to cake in the most elegant way: with cherries and liqueur, mascarpone and lemon curd.
The recipe comes from the new beautiful book by Edd Kimber.
Edd is one of my favorite bakers. His recipes are creative, thoughtful, and consistently reliable. He’s a solid friend and a truly fantastic baker. His latest book One Tin Bakes is all about the 9×13-inch pan – working that pan in the most creative ways.
Edd’s book is currently available in the UK and comes out here in the states on September 1st. Add it to your wishlist – it’s a must-have!
Edd and I are baking buddies who happen to meet all over the globe for our hangs. He lives in London and I live in New Orleans and last year we found ourselves in Ireland and Israel on food tours together. Remember international travel? Le sigh. Me too.
Edd is a dream to travel with because he comes with a list of bakeries and markets he wants to visit. In Ireland we woke up hours early to head to Bread 41 just as they opened for a little tour and the best sausage roll of my life. This curiosity and passion comes through in each and every one of Edd’s recipes and makes him one of the best bakers I know.
Let’s make Edd’s Lemon Cherry Icebox Cake! Here’s what you’ll need:
• Edd calls for sour cherries in this recipe. Sour cherries are so elusive that they’re often only found frozen. Even frozen sour cherries are hard to come by. For this recipe I’ll do as Edd suggests, use regular frozen cherries and add a few extra tablespoons of lemon juice for tartness. I haven’t tested this recipe with fresh cherries. The recipe relies on the cherries being fairly juicy so my guess is that fresh cherries would need to be cooked down significantly to coax out more liquid.
• Kirsch or Luxardo liqueur to cook down the cherries with flavor.
• Mascarpone cheese, smooth and lightly sweet.
• Heavy cream that we’ll whip into soft and fluffy whipped cream.
• Lemon curd and its creamy tartness.
• Graham crackers that will soften to cake-like after a few hours. It’s a wonder really!
Simmer together cherries, liqueur, sugar, and lemon juice until the fruit softened and the cherries release a lot of juice.
Remove the softened cherries to a medium bowl and return the pan of juice to the stovetop. Simmer on low until the syrup is reduced to about 1 cup.
Stir a few tablespoons of syrup into the corn syrup, creating a slurry.
Stir the slurry back into the syrup until it thickens nicely.
You’ll notice that it’s thick enough to coat the sides of the pan. Pour the thickened syrup over the cherries. Allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating until completely cool.
Next we’ll make mascarpone whipped cream.
You may find it easiest to smooth and whip the mascarpone first before adding the heavy cream. Whip together to incredibly soft peaks.
Add lemon curd. Oh yes.
Whip to proper soft peaks. The whipped cream will just start to thicken and hold streaks.
And now we layer!
A thin layer of cream topped with a layer of graham crackers. Break the crackers as needed to fit in the pan edge to edge.
Add another layer of cream and a good few dollops of cherries and juice from edge to edge.
Add another layer of cookies, cream, cherries, and cookies. (We’ll use all of the cookies and lemon cream but reserve some cherries for serving so don’t go all out.)
After the last layer of cookies is added, cover and freeze for 4 hours.
You can also refrigerate the cake overnight to soften the cookies and chill the cake. I like this cake best after it’s been frozen for a few hours – making the mixture more firm and cold like a semifreddo!
Just before serving, whip the remaining heavy cream and spread across the last layer of cookies.
Slice here and now and serve cool or very chilly.
This cake hits the top of my ABSOLUTELY list this week. It’s incredibly soft and creamy, tart with lemon cream and bright cherries. It tastes simple but wealthy. Just truly lovely. If you have a pan of this cake in the refrigerator or freezer, it will be hard to step away from.
Two things I’d like to add to your ABSOLUTELY list:
• Make this Cherry and Lemon Ice Box Cake.
• Add One Tin Bakes to you fall cookbook list.
Photos with Jon MelendezPrint
- For the Cherry Compote:
- 1 pound 5 ounces (600g) frozen pitted cherries
- 1/2 cup kirsch or luxardo liqueur
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Splash of almond extract (optional)
- For the Filling:
- 9 ounces (250g, 1 1/8 cup) mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (35g) powdered sugar
- 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup (150g) lemon curd (store-bought)
- 10 ounces (270g) graham crackers
- Lightly grease a 9×13-inch tin and line the pan with parchment paper that overhangs the sides on two sides.
- For the cherry compote, place the cherries, liqueur, sugar and lemon juice into a large saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the fruit softens and releases a lot of juice. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cherries to a heatproof bowl, leaving the syrup in the pan. Continue cooking the syrup until it reduces to about 1 cup.
- Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in a little of the cherry syrup to form a smooth paste. Add this slurry to the cherry syrup in the pan and simmer, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour the syrup over the fruit, cool slightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled through.
- For the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with electric hand beaters whip together mascarpone, powdered sugar, 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, and vanilla until the mixture just starts to hold its shape. Add the lemon curd and continue whisking until the mixture holds soft peaks.
- To assemble the desert spread a thin layer of the lemon cream over the base of the prepared tin. Cover with a layer of graham crackers, breaking them up to cover the base edge to edge. Spread half of the remaining lemon cream and then dollop over 1/3 of the cherry mixture. Repeat the layering a second time and finish with a final layer of biscuits. You’ll have some cherry mixture left over for serving.
- Cover the tin and freeze for at least four hours.
- Just before serving, whip the remaining cream to soft peaks and spread over the dessert. Cut into slices and serve each portion with a spoonful of the remaining compote.
- Store in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks or in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
This recipe calls for a 9×13-inch pan though I’ve also had success with a high-sided 9×9-inch square pan.
- Serving Size: 9