It’s a sad reality that when I have parties, dessert is often forgotten. No matter how much time I spend preparing a pie, cake or crumble it is inevitably overshadowed by the savory dishes, the cocktail table or my never-empty wine rack (really, if I had a dollar for every time someone said “how come you don’t drink all of this?” I would be in the Bahamas right now and In Good Taste, as you know it, would cease to exist).
So, my new rule of thumb is that when I’m having parties, unless they are civilized, sit-down dinner parties (and let’s be honest, what fun is a civilized party?) desserts should be hand-held, bite sized or easy to assemble on your own. Like these dessert cups filled with fresh berries and mascarpone whipped cream.
First we are going to talk about this whipped cream. Holy hell, this whipped cream is break-your-diet, unbutton your jeans good. As if homemade whipped cream isn’t delicious enough, a healthy addition of mascarpone makes this thicker, creamier and adds that little something extra that will make you feel like you own the kitchen.
Though the dessert uses prepackaged dessert shells, the homemade whipped cream more than makes up for the lack of home-baked goodness. The shells are merely a vehicle, with fresh berries and soft, rich whipped cream as the star. The dessert shells are pretty low in calories so this is a nice dessert to spring for after a day in a bathing suit.
- 1 6-piece package dessert shells*
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- ½ cup fresh blackberries
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ¾ cup mascarpone whipped cream (recipe below)
- Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
- Prepare whipped cream recipe as directed below. Mix berries in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine them. Arrange dessert shells on a plate or platter and top each with approximately ¼ cup of mixed berries. Top berries with 2 tablespoons of fresh whipped cream and garnish with fresh mint, if desired.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- Place a metal mixing bowl (or the bowl to your stand mixer) and a metal whisk (or whisk attachment) into the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bowl and whisk once its chilled and attach the whisk to your mixer.
- Just before you're ready to use it, take the whipping cream and mascarpone cheese out of the refrigerator - it should still be very cold when you pour it into the bowl. Add the cream, then the sugar into the mixing bowl and whisk until the cream reaches stiff peaks. [What are stiff peaks? The cream should be stiff, like hair gel, and it shouldn't drip from the whisk when held upright].
- Store any unused cream in an airtight container for up to seven days.