After our last batch of mascarpone, we tried out mascarpone with meringue, banana and Aloha Spiced Cacao, which was decadent and scrumptious in the extreme. That was my starting point for this. We then picked up fresh dates, and somehow the image of them paired with mascarpone and meringue, or meringue and mascarpone - I am not sure which elements I put together first - and I had to try it. With fresh dates, I naturally had to add in an orange drizzle, and then when making it for a sister who doesn't eat dates, the walnuts joined the party. A drizzle of Cointreau over the top was my dad's idea. Like most things therefore, it was a multi-step process, and I am very grateful for the family helping to bounce ideas around.
I made mascarpone specially for this using lemon juice again instead of citric acid and leaving it to curdle for several hours and then to drain overnight. The mascarpone came out really well, and I am glad of the speed and ease with which I was able to make it. I feel at this point that mascarpone has been fully assimilated into my repertoire. I have not been sweetening mine at all and I've been enjoying it like that, with a slight acidic note to it.
After Easter and the requisite feasting which follow (including the post-Lent binge), we didn't need another dessert, but in the interests of science - and a need to find out how this would taste- everyone threw themselves on the sword of this dessert, for which I am most grateful. We're still trying to come up with a name for this, so suggestions are welcome!
300 - 400 g mascarpone (roughly 2-3 tbsp per person)
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cloves
8 fresh dates, pitted and quartered
a handful of walnuts
a drizzle of Cointreau per bowl
1) In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice and zest, sugar, and half the cloves. Stir and allow it to come to a gentle simmer. Taste test and add the rest of the cloves if desired. Once this has thickened to a thin syrup, remove from the heat.
2) Place a meringue in each of four bowls, then over the top a dollop of mascarpone (for the fun of it I decided to form mine into ro-shays - ahem, rochers for those who speak French- , but feel free to just dollop).
3) Place some of the date quarters and a few walnuts in each bowl then spoon some orange syrup and drizzle Cointreau over the rest.
Ta-Da! It' is that simple, but simply delightful! Next time I might roughly chop the walnuts to get a more even coverage, but otherwise I would change nothing about this. Except maybe to try it with a drizzle of rum? Hmmm. There's an idea! I also wonder how everything would react to being lightly flambéed.... Oh so tasty though!