In the Kitchen
When served in tall, stemmed glasses, these make an elegant but remarkably simple dessert. As an additional bonus, they can for the most part be assembled well in advance so all you need to do is garnish then serve with a flourish.
Mascarpone is an Italian-style cream cheese - it's very rich and has a very mild cultured flavour.
It's now produced in New Zealand and can be found in larger supermarkets (look in the cheese section), either in plastic pouches or in small plastic tubs.
Don't worry if the package/container you find is not exactly the same size as the one we used here, 50g or so either way won't make too much difference.
-12 green kiwifruit
Caster sugar, optional
250-300g (1-1 1/4 cups) mascarpone
1 Tbsp brandy, coffee or orange liqueur
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup cream, lightly whipped
4 tsp instant coffee
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
400-500g madeira cake, cubed
Shaved or grated chocolate to garnish
the kiwifruit, then quarter them lengthways and cut into 7mm-10mm thick slices. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar to sweeten slightly if desired. Put the mascarpone in a large bowl and stir in the brandy or liqueur and caster sugar (this should soften it nicely) then fold in the lightly whipped cream.
Cover and set aside until required.
Stir the instant coffee, sugar and water together in a small pot (or microwave bowl). Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. While the syrup cools, cut the madeira cake into 1cm-2cm cubes. Place cubes in a shallow dish or tray and drizzle with the syrup, turning them gently so most sides are covered with syrup.
Arrange the sponge, kiwifruit and cream in alternate layers in individual glasses or other containers. Vary the order as you please, though if you put sponge at the bottom it soaks up any excess liquid nicely. If you finish with a layer or dollop of the cream mixture it looks great garnished with a little shaved or grated dark chocolate. (If desired, you can assemble these, except for the final layer, up to 8 hours in advance, just cover and refrigerate until required.)
- The Dominion Post