When Dina was a couple of months old I took her to the 'Consultatiebureau' which is Dutch for 'place to take your kid for wellness-visits and immunizations'. On this particular visit I met Viktorija and her baby, Leticia. I feel lucky to call Viktorija my friend. She and her family are from Croatia and so have very interesting recipes to share with me! One of her most favorite desserts is something like a 'berrymisu' which reminds me of tiramisu but with berries instead of coffee. It is best made the day before you want to serve it, as the flavors blend together beautifully in the fridge overnight. If you don't have the exact measurements for this recipe, or you have something similar, do not worry. Viktorija would say, "Make it how you want! Use what you have!" and my favorite, "Relax!"
Berry Dream Parfait
2 packages Marscapone cheese (about a cup or 500g total)
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream (slagroom)
1/2 cup sugar (fijn krystal suiker) (about 100 g)
1/2 cup water (125 ml)
juice of half a lemon - about 2 Tbsp
1 tsp vanilla
2 packages of lady fingers or 1 package of Dutch egg-cookies (eieren koekje)
500 grams (about 2 pints) strawberries (aardbeien), hulled and sliced
Beat cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. If desired add a bit of powdered sugar (I prefer it without sugar). In another bowl, beat marscapone cheese until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream, but don't stress if it is lumpy.
Next, bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, take it off the heat, transfer to a dish to cool and add lemon juice and vanilla. If you don't have vanilla you can add some other liquor or orange flower water.
Using a large glass bowl or other container, dip each egg-cookie or ladyfinger into the sugar/water/lemon mixture and line the bottom. Spoon the cream/marscapone mixture in a layer and then add sliced berries. Repeat this with more dipped cookies, cream and berries until you have filled your container or run out of ingredients, whichever happens first. The best way to end this layering is with a layer of cream on the top and maybe a few strategically placed berries for garnish. You can also garnish with a sprig of mint.
Chill for at least an hour and preferably overnight. Serve in glasses for an elegant effect!
If you don't have Marscapone cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese is a good substitution.
This photo is of the first time I had this dessert, at Viktorija's house. Notice the beautiful arrangement of raspberries she added to the top. Most of the time I'm in a rush and forget to garnish this fabulous dessert. But this photo reminded me of how pretty it can look!