Berries with Mascarpone Cream – summer on a plate

I speak a lot about the joys of eating with the seasons. And with good reason. Food, produce in particular, is always at its most delicious when eaten at the right time of the year. I think it would be difficult to find a better example of this than summer berries.

If you dwell in the Northern Hemisphere, think June strawberries and you’ll know what December strawberries mean to us down here in the south.

We’ve been fortunate in Auckland to have enjoyed a surprisingly warm late spring and I was overjoyed to find such beautiful, blushing berries on offer at my local market. When it comes to the food world no other fruit heralds in summer quite like these beauties. The colours, the freshness, some sweet, some tart, but all utterly delicious.

There are endless ways to serve berries and they grace many a summer dessert. I chose to serve them simply with mascarpone cream and Italian Crostoli.

The mascarpone cream is ridiculously easy to make and is one of those recipes that you find yourself turning to time and again because it is so useful and delicious served with just about anything. You could, of course, simply serve the berries with whipped cream, but the mascarpone cream adds a touch of decadence.

It is a key component in my Berry Mascarpone Tart, which incidentally is another fantastic way of serving summer berries. Click here for the recipe.

As for the Crostoli, these are Italian of course, and somewhere between a cookie and a pastry. Sweet dough shaped into ribbons, deep-fried and then dusted with icing sugar. They are quite simply one of most delicious things you are ever likely to eat. Sweet, but not too sweet and beautifully crisp. They add great texture to a dessert like this where everything from the berries to the mascarpone cream is soft or squidgy in texture. I wish I could claim that I made them myself but I’ll confess that I picked them up at the same market where I bought my berries.

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Speaking of which, I talk a great deal about my local gourmet market. Farro on the North Shore is this fabulous place and local to me, but there are a few stores dotted about Auckland. It’s my happy place.

This dessert is so easy to put together I’m hard pushed to even call it a recipe, save for the mascarpone cream. Think of it more as an assembly of three perfect offerings from the sweet world, made only slightly more perfect when brought together on one plate.

 

Summer Berries with Mascarpone Cream

 

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Berries

Selection of your favourite summer berries – I used strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries

Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients

  • 250g mascarpone
  • 200ml double cream
  • 40g icing sugar, sieved
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Spoon the mascarpone into a bowl and give it a quick stir to loosen it up. Add the double cream, vanilla and icing sugar.
  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.
  3. Spoon the filling into the biscuit lined tin and spread out smoothly.
  4. At this stage you can cover the tart and pop it back into the fridge until you’re ready to add the berries and serve.

Note: if you can’t get double cream, use standard cream but it may take a little longer for the mixture to thicken. Still watch closely though!

To serve

Crostoli or biscuit of your choice (shortbread would be wonderful also)

 

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22 Comments

    • Thank you, my friend! I’m trying to get as much sunshine into my food as I can before we head into a London winter. Don’t think these beauties will be gracing our Christmas table this year. But I am looking forward to turkey and all the trimmings!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jonathan. These berries are bursting with flavour and goodness. A great way to have a sweet ending to a meal without breaking the calorie bank. You could even just leave out the mascarpone cream or replace with a dollop of thick natural yoghurt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Each option (including the mascarpone) has its place.It’s nice to have the choice and the willpower to decide which option is best under the circumstances. Thank you for providing these additional options. If more people followed your recommendations, fewer people would experience health complications.

        Liked by 1 person

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