Lemon Blackberry Trifle
This recipe comes to me by way of the priestess, nay, the goddess of the kitchen, Nigella Lawson. I’ve been a fan and fanatical advocate of the raven-haired Brit since her show Nigella Bites, with her impeccable style, spot on palate, and slightly subversive humour. And no one can make love to a spoon the way she can. I did meet her once and we had a little chat. To be perfectly accurate, I met her along with maybe 3000 other fans at a book signing. Despite the mob, she remained regal and warm in her chartreuse twin set, offering a genuine smile to all.
I must admit her cookbook prose have had a profound inspiration on my own desire to write. I’ve savoured each and every one of her publications, reading them more like novels rather than as a resource. I enjoy her informative preambles mixed with the regional vernacular (splodge, nubbled, blitzed) and simple recipes with inspired flavours. She blends cultures and style with no apology. One region she loves to explore is Italy, from crostini to dolce. …Hence, this recipe, slightly modified, from her publication Forever Summer…
This is everything a trifle should be: rich, oozing, cool, and creamy. It’s also easy to make (please forgive the ready-made ingredients) and best if made well ahead of serving, rendering it perfect for easy entertaining. The Italian inspiration comes from the ingredients: crunchy amaretti biscuits, sweet and puckering limoncello, and standing in for custard is a silky mascarpone mousse with blackberries providing a blistering contrast.
The measurements are offered more as a guideline, with the size of your trifle bowl influencing the proportions. For these photos, I used my oval porcelain casserole dish that I usually employ for mac and cheese, although it is most presentable in a glass trifle bowl (my own having disappeared after attending a potluck and not to be seen since).
Recipe on following page… Continue reading
Always trust Martha to bring the culinary world of New York to my living room. Not that long ago, she presented a segment on 10th Avenue noshes and ChikaLicious Dessert Bar was included on her two-part tour. Chef owners Don and Chika Tillman present a starkly intimate dessert eatery built around an open kitchen where the chefs and sommelier work and serve the customers directly. Their reasonably priced three-course tasting menu has been described as being American desserts with French presentation and Japanese tasting portions and includes a palate-cleansing amuse, a choice from the varying dessert selection, and a plate of assorted petit fours. Wine matchings are offered, along with organic coffees and teas.
For our visit, we started with a sweetly puckering duo of lemonade sorbet with lemon panna cotta. For our “mains,” we each tried one of their classic desserts: Fromage Blanc Island “Cheese Cake” (pictured above) artfully nestled into a mound of shaved ice; and a Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce. Both were divinely delicious and proof of the chefs’ skills in presentation, taste and texture. We couldn’t ask for anything more after an exhausting day supporting the local retail economy. And indeed, the petit fours were the proverbial cherry on an otherwise perfect sensory experience: a cube of quivering coconut marshmallow, a mini-wedge of carmelized lemon peel pound cake and a kiss of ganache atop a crisp chocolate wafer took us over the edge and we sailed home on a satisfactory sugar high.
They don’t take reservations, but any wait is worth the experience. And while you’re there, check out the Dessert Club ChikaLicious, their companion bakery directly across the street, for arguably the best cupcake you will find in Manhattan.
ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
203 E. 10th St., between 2nd Ave and 1st Ave.
New York, NY
3pm to 10:45pm.