750g (about 5 1/2 cups) mixed fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, strawberries)
275g (11/4 cups) caster sugar
500g firm, fresh ricotta
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
250ml (1 cup) pouring cream, approximately
60ml (1/4 cup) Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
300g LOAF Perfect Lemon Loaf, cut into 1cm pieces
Chopped pistachios, to decorate
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Cooking time: 5 minutes
An easy take on trifle, this one requires no custard, instead using a layer of sweetened, vanilla-flavoured ricotta. It would work equally as well with pitted fresh cherries instead of the berries if you decide to go this route, cook them in 125ml (1/2 cup) or so of red wine and leave out the orange-flavoured liqueur. Try to use a good, firm, fresh ricotta and not one that is overly sloppy, as some of the pre-packaged ones tend to be.
1. If using fresh berries, hull as necessary and cut any strawberries into large pieces. Combine the berries with 125ml (1/2 cup) water and 165g (3/4 cup) of the caster sugar in a saucepan. Cover then slowly bring to a simmer, cook, covered, for 5 minutes or until the berries are soft, but still holding their shape, and have given up their juices. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in the liqueur if using.
2. Combine the remaining caster sugar, ricotta and vanilla bean seeds (reserve the pod for another use) in a food processor then process until smooth. Using the pulse button, add the cream, pulsing until just combined. Do not over process or the mixture may curdle. Add a little more cream if necessary, the mixture should have a thick dropping consistency.
3. Scatter half the lemon loaf pieces evenly over the base of a 1.5 litre (6 cup) capacity bowl. Spoon over half the berry mixture, drizzling with the juices to dampen the loaf. Repeat with the remaining loaf and berries. Carefully spoon over the ricotta mixture, spreading it evenly then scatter over some chopped pistachios to decorate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to allow the flavours to develop then serve.