Mascarpone Cream with Morello Cherries and Amaretti

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of quick and easy desserts. I’d guess that my sweet tooth is at about medium strength. That is to say I tend towards savoury in general. For instance, I’m more inclined to order a starter than a dessert when I eat out (unless it’s a long and lazy evening of eating and I can fit in three courses).

But that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally indulge in something sweet and sinful. For all that healthy eating is an important part of our lives, there are times when eating has to be about pleasure only.

When it comes to choosing dessert for a dinner party I more often than not go for something quick and easy but that doesn’t necessarily appear so. When a pudding looks spectacular and tastes even better there’s no need for your guests to know it took twenty minutes for you to put it together. You can simply smile and accept the incoming praise gracefully while secretly thrilled that you were able to produce so much gorgeousness with such little effort.

This isn’t the first time I’ve offered such a dessert to my readers. If you’re after inspiration in the way of quick desserts, check out my lemon posset (click here). Or the strawberry fool I made for Valentine’s Day (click here).

Neither dessert involves any cooking (with the exception of heating some cream for the posset) and the sweet offering I have for you today follows in this grand tradition.

This beautiful layered pudding was made for a recent Italian-themed dinner party. A stunning platter of antipasto was followed by linguine with Italian sausage. So the dessert had to be Italian-inspired. Mascarpone and amaretti biscuits? It doesn’t get much more Italian than that.

The mascarpone cream is not a new recipe – I used this to make a gorgeous berry mascarpone tart earlier in the year when berries were in season. See here for the recipe. (I don’t mean to be shamelessly plugging my previous posts but I’m extremely fond of these desserts, not least because they have the ability to make life easier when entertaining).

So let’s get down to business. The mascarpone cream is a cinch to make and I’ve given the recipe again below. The amaretti biscuits need only to be crushed. I did consider adding butter to make more of a cheesecake-style base at the bottom of the glass but I decided to go with freeform. This makes it easier to mix the biscuits with the cream and cherries so that every mouthful is a spoonful of deliciousness.

I’ve used bottled morello cherries for two reasons. One because I absolutely love them and use them often and secondly because it ensures you can make this dessert at whatever time of year.

You’ll see from the photograph that I’ve finished off the layers with a small tower of cherries on top. I took this photo earlier in the day when I made the dessert. However, later in the day I changed my mind and instead reduced some of the syrup from the jar along with a handful of cherries until it was a dark and glossy syrup. It looked stunning and tasted incredible. But absolutely optional.

 

Mascarpone Cream with Morello Cherries and Amaretti

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 200ml double cream
  • 40g icing sugar, sieved
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g amaretti biscuits
  • 1 jar (you won’t need the entire jar) pitted Morello cherries, drained (reserve the syrup depending on garnish you choose)

 

Method

  1. First make the mascarpone cream. Spoon the mascarpone into a bowl and give it a quick stir. Add the double cream and icing sugar, along with the vanilla.
  2. Using a freestanding or hand mixer, beat the mixture until thick. Watch closely because it thickens quickly – in less than a minute – and the last thing you want is an over-whipped buttery mess. Have a taste and decide if you’d like a little more sugar (although you don’t want the cream to be too sweet).
  3. Now prepare the amaretti. The best way to do this is to pop the biscuits into a large snap lock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. I find the most effective way is to run the rolling pin firmly over the bag a few times, crushing the biscuits as you go. Then turn the bag over and do the same on the other side. You’ll see from the photograph that you don’t want the amaretti to be reduced to fine rubble. There should still be plenty of crunch and texture.
  4. You can now start layering. Begin with a layer of amaretti. Then spoon over the mascarpone cream.
  5. When it comes to the cherries I like to flatten them slightly and at the same time check to be sure there is no pit. Yes, they are pitted but I have occasionally found a rogue pit. Gives me peace of mind.
  6. Once the cherries are prepared layer them on top of the mascarpone cream. You want to pack them together closely to ensure you get a good layer of cherries.
  7. Add another layer of amaretti and then a final layer of mascarpone cream. Make these a few hours ahead of time and pop the glasses in the fridge covered with cling film until you need them.
  8. Garnish only once you’re ready to serve. Arrange some glossy cherries atop the cream or follow my suggestion above and make a cherry syrup to garnish.

For me this dessert ticks several boxes. It looks stunning and tastes wonderful. But above all, it has a perfect balance of textures. The creamy mascarpone, the crunch of the amaretti and the juicy sour cherries.

Enjoy the expressions on your friends’ faces when you arrive at the table with these beauties. They’ll go home happy.

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21 Comments

  1. annika says:

    Looks divine! I’ll have to hunt down the morello cherries. I’ve never had them before. I am missing out on something life-altering? I’m wondering if I could use fresh strawberries instead? (Can you tell I’m counting down the days to strawberry season?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Annika! You must try and find the morello cherries – they are fabulous and such a great thing to have in the pantry. They’re delicious in a trifle. But yes, you could absolutely use strawberries instead. I’m so envious – our season is well over but you’ve waited long enough! Enjoy, my friend x

      Liked by 1 person

      • annika says:

        I’ll take your advice and hunt them down.. it will require going to one of our larger markets, but I am sure they will have it. Yes, we have waited long enough! I’m also out of all the frozen berries now… about 5 more long weeks to go! Have a lovely weekend, Tracey!

        Liked by 1 person

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