Blueberry Ice-box Cake

 

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Cravings seldom adhere to rules, know no seasons. The other day we had a craving for blueberries, so it seemed like the perfect time to try a recipe we were recently given for a Blueberry Ice-box cake. It may not be blueberry season, but it is ice season, so this astonishing dessert is a little bit of a compromise.

We had our first frost the other day, and many of us woke to find a thin layer of ice over bird-baths, frozen puddles in the back yard, reminders that fresh fruit season is over in Ontario. This presents the conscientious diner with a bit of dilemma; we want to eat “local” and support local farmers and purveyors but we also want to eat fresh. The latter usually means eating fruit and veg trucked in from afar, and the former means opening those mason jars of canned local fruit or thawing fruit harvested months ago. In this case, a bag of wild Ontario blueberries.

 

Blueberry chia jam on the way!

Blueberry chia jam on the way!

 

Since the recipe calls for the fruit to be cooked and then frozen, frozen blueberries are the perfect fit. For this recipe you make a “jam” by cooking the blueberries with sugar and chia seeds which thicken the jam and also add protein fibre and calcium.

 

The lemon/mascarpone cream

The lemon/mascarpone cream

 

The other key flavour profiles in this visually appealing dessert are tangy lemon and mellow mascarpone. Put the three flavours together, add a little crunch from graham crackers or ginger snaps and you have a delightful dessert sensation that surprises in taste, texture and temperature. Though at first blush this may seem like a summer dessert, it is wonderful in winter too, and is a great way to use that delicious, frozen local fruit.

 

gently spread each layer

gently spread each layer

The lemon component in this recipe comes from fresh lemon curd which is totally easy to make. Whenever we make it we always make sure there is a little left over to drizzle on vanilla ice cream or heat and pour over a sponge cake or pound cake. If you have a little time, definitely have a go at this delicious reminder of summer. This is a dessert you will want to prepare the day before you plan on serving it, but guess what! It keeps well in the freezer!

 Blueberry Ice-box Cake

8 oz mascarpone

¾ cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 ½ cups whipping cream

1 cup lemon curd

graham crackers or thin ginger snaps

1 ½ cups blueberry chia jam

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

Line a 9×5 bread pan with plastic wrap, leaving overhang on all sides. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat mascarpone, powdered sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually add cream. Increase speed to medium as mixture thickens; beat until medium peaks form. Transfer two-thirds of mascarpone mixture to another large bowl and fold in ½ cup lemon curd; we will refer to this as lemon cream. Cover remaining mascarpone mixture; chill until ready to unmold and cover cake.

Place a single layer of graham crackers or ginger snaps over bottom of prepared pan, breaking as needed to fit. Spread a quarter of the lemon cream over the crackers. Spread half a cup of the blueberry jam evenly over lemon cream. Drizzle ¼ cup lemon curd over. Spoon a third of remaining lemon cream over curd and top with another layer of crackers. Repeat layering process with half of remaining lemon cream, ½ cup jam, and remaining lemon curd. Finish with a final layer of lemon cream, then graham crackers. Cover with plastic wrap; freeze at least 6 hours. Cover and chill remaining jam until ready to serve cake.

Uncover cake and invert pan onto a platter using the plastic overhang to help you unmold the cake. Discard the plastic wrap and spread top and sides of cake with reserved mascarpone mixture. Chill in freezer at least 15 minutes. To serve, slice half inch pieces and let temper for a bout five minutes. Mix the final 1/3 cup of blueberries with the remaining jam and spoon over dessert if desired.

 

the cake before frosting

the cake before frosting

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