Cbelt, cake, toasted fruit and a little alcohol always make for a breathtaking pudding. This one gives off strong La Dolce Vita vibes with its limoncello soaked sponge, sticky roasted apricots and a hint of whipped mascarpone. Don’t be put off by the different elements here; everything can be made ahead of time and put together on the day you serve it.
Pudding of apricot, limoncello and mascarpone
Preparation 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour 45 minutes
Hang out 1 hour
For the sponge
160g caster sugar
135 g flour
For the apricots
700 g ripe apricots (about 12)
50 g caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
For the mascarpone
70g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
400ml double cream
For the meringue
140 g caster sugar
Preheat oven to 120C (110C Fan)/230F/Gas Low and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Start with the meringues. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat to soft peaks. With mixer still running, add sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, making sure each sugar has dissolved before adding more. Once the meringue is thick and glossy, spoon six dollops onto the baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes, then turn off the oven, let cool for an hour, then remove and place on a wire rack.
Set the oven to 200C (180C Fan)/390F/Gas 6. Cut the apricots in half and discard the kernels. Place the fruit in a large baking dish and mix with the sugar, 50 ml limoncello, lemon juice and 50 ml water. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until really soft and syrupy, then mash the apricots with a fork to break them up a bit, but leave them a little coarse. Set aside to cool.
For the cake, grease a 25 x 20 cm cake tin and line it. Lower the oven to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas 4.
Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed for four to six minutes, until mixture is thick, pale and more than doubled in volume. Sift a third of the flour over the eggs and fold in very gently, taking care not to get too much air out. Add the remaining flour in two batches, gently folding each addition, making sure there is no flour in the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the parchment-lined baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. When the cake has cooled, cut it in half horizontally to make two thin layers, and brush both generously with the remaining limoncello.
For the filling, beat the mascarpone, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until just thickened to soft peaks. Fold the cream into the mascarpone and set aside.
To assemble, place a cake in the bottom of a 22 x 28 cm dish and cover with a third of the apricots and half of the mascarpone cream. Crush half of the meringue shells and sprinkle on top. Repeat with the second layer of cake, some more apricots and the rest of the cream. Break the remaining meringue into large chunks and sprinkle on top along with any additional apricots and some chopped pistachios. Refrigerate an hour before serving.