Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grilled Pound Cake with Macerated Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream

An easy and quick, yet elegant dessert: Pound cake, already like a cloud, grilled to have more texture and beautiful presentation; macerated strawberries with a fresh, juicy and slightly sweet bite and mascarpone cream (or should I rather say mascarpone dream) which is, in my opinion, the best topping in the world for most desserts.

Mascarpone cheese is a sweet Italian cream cheese which is traditionally used for Italian dessert tiramisu, but it's got a much more versatile use for sweet or savory dishes and a wonderfully rich dairy flavor that is like nothing else. If you cannot find mascarpone, you can definitely use sweetened whipped cream for this recipe.

Macerating fresh fruit is to sprinkle them with a small amount of sugar and let them sit to release their own juices and that way creating a very light syrup without an overpowering sweetness. And I think it especially works great with strawberries.

By the way, this dessert is just as delicious without grilling the pound cake. In that case, it actually is like a quick version of a strawberry trifle which tastes like the strawberry-cream cakes from my childhood that we used to buy from pastry stores...

Ingredients: (Serves 8) 

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 6 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 store-bought or home-made pound cake (about 14 oz.)
  • 8 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. (1 small tub) mascarpone cheese
  • 3-4 teaspoons honey

  • Put the strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and mix well to coat. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, you can prepare the pound cake and the cream.
  • Put the mascarpone cheese in another bowl, add the honey and stir until it is well-incorporated into the mascarpone (Start with 2 teaspoons of honey and taste it. Depending on how sweet you like the cream topping you can add more and keep tasting it, until you reach the desired sweetness).
  • Cut the pound cake into 8 slices. Spread 1/2 teaspoon butter on each side of the slices (1 teaspoon butter per slice).
  • Heat a grill pan over high heat or an electric grill to 425 F (you can also use your outdoor grill, this is a great dessert option for your outdoor parties in summer - just remember: you need to be very gentle with the pound cake when grilling, and grill it on a clean part of the grill where you do not have any meat, oil etc. residue). Grill the pound cake slices for 3-4 minutes on each side, do not flip them over until you achieve those nice grill marks (but also be careful not to burn them).
  • For serving, put a slice of cake on the plate, top with macerated strawberries and cream. This is actually the kind of dessert that your guests can assemble for themselves, topping the cake slice with their desired amount of fruit and cream. One less thing for you to do...

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