Lemon and berries are one of my favorite flavor combinations, especially in the summer. Last night I hosted our final Sisters of Sojourn meeting, a small group of women on the Westside of Los Angeles that raise money to support a home for battered women and children. For our final gathering, I prepared wood-fired pizzas, salads and a delightful Limoncello Summer Berry Trifle.
Trifle is traditionally a fruit dessert, layered with sherry or other fortified wine soaked sponge cake and pudding. My creation was a little more modern, prepared with preserved lemon loaf cake, lemon curd cream and a little limoncello. Fresh berries are the secret to making this summer trifle, so refreshingly special and if you haven’t sampled the strawberries this season, they are super duper sweet.
You can make the trifle a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator for your party or gathering. This makes a great wedding or baby shower dessert too.
Preserved Lemon Loaf Cake
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup good olive oil
3/4 preserved lemon, minced or zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Lemon Curd Cream
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, diced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 pints strawberries
1 pint blueberries
4 1/2 ounces limoncello
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 9 inch loaf pan. To prepare the loaf cake – in a stand mixer, add the eggs and sugar and beat on high for 3 minutes. Then, add the olive oil and continue to beat for 1 minute.
2. Next, add the preserved lemon and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Then, add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Spoon in the yogurt and continue to mix on low for 30 more seconds. Do not over mix.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.
4. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Using a butter knife, loosen around the perimeter and invert onto a board to cool completely.
5. To make the lemon curd cream – In a saucepan, add the lemon juice and heat until simmering. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon zest. Using a tablespoon, drizzle a little warm lemon juice into the egg mixture, while continuing to whisk. Then, slowly pour the warmed egg mixture back into the simmering lemon juice, while continuing to whisk. The mixture will start to thicken as you continue to whisk, about 2 minutes. When the curd is thick, turn off the heat. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the curd. Chill for at least 2 hours. Remove the wrap and stir when ready to build the trifle.
6. Whip the heavy cream into soft peaks. In a larger bowl, gently fold the lemon cream with the 3/4 of the whipped cream, you can leave the streaks in the cream, I tend to love the look. Save the remaining 1/4 of the whipped cream for the top of the trifle.
7. Slice the loaf cake into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries in half and wash the blueberries.
8. In a 4-quart glass dish, begin to layer the trifle starting with the slices of cake. You may need to trim each piece to fit your dish. Then, drizzle the cake layer with 3 tablespoons of limoncello.
9. Dollop a layer of lemon curd cream on top of the cake layer, followed by a layer of fresh strawberries and blueberries.
10. Keep layering until you have 3 full layers of cake, cream and berries.
11. Dollop the remaining whipped cream on top of the trifle and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!