I know I just did a blackberry/ginger dessert back in April. We’re doing it again: the combination is delicious, and when else are you supposed to eat berries, if not summer? This recipe came about because I was talking with my friend (whose wedding cake I made, hereafter known as Agent Sidney Bristow), while we were at the gym Saturday morning. I said I wanted to make something cold and summery, but I’d just done an ice cream recipe. She said “what about a freezer cake?” Now, see, the thing about Agent Sidney Bristow is that she’s a French Culinary Institute trained chef, and she doesn’t really “do” recipes. Instead, she has this maddening ability to just MAKE things, and she seems to expect me to do the same. Emboldened, and also on a budget, with only the haziest idea of what I was aiming for, I splashed out on some blackberries, raided my fridge and pantry for the remaining ingredients, took a deep breath, and plunged in. I’m really rather pleased with the results– it’s like a cross between an ice cream pie and a cheesecake: the perfect thing to cool down with after a long day.
For the gingersnap crust: [Okay, yes, you can use store-bought gingersnaps, if you’re pressed for time.]
adapted, barely, from Smitten Kitchen:
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 sticks (8 oz. or 1 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 tbsp. (1 oz.) butter, melted
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 c. unsulphured molasses
Measure flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and crystallized ginger into a large bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and molasses and beat until thoroughly combined, about two minutes more. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll the chilled dough out into 1-inch balls and space evenly on cookie sheets, about 16 per sheet. Bake for 15-16 minutes. Allow to rest on cookie sheets for at least five minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Once cookies have cooled completely, pulse about 25-30 in a food processor until reduced to crumbs. Drizzle in 2 tbsp. melted butter (you may need more butter if you’re using store-bought gingersnaps) and continue to pulse until crumbs are coated in butter. Transfer the crumbs to a 9″ springform pan and press evenly over bottom and up sides of pan. Place crust in freezer to set.
[Note: my springform pan has gone a-wandering. I used a 9″ cake pan and lined the bottom and sides with parchment paper. The only thing I did differently was to carefully unmold the cake before topping it with blackberries, but I advise you to use the springform pan and only unmold it right before serving.]
For the freezer cake:
24 oz. (3 8-oz. packages) regular cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz. (1/2 c.) sour cream, room temperature
3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger.
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. heavy whipping cream
6 oz. high quality white chocolate (such as Lindt, Callebaut, E. Guittard, or Baker’s) (yes, I’m still working through my Project Wedding Cake stash)
Melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until just melted; remove immediately from heat. Whisk until smooth, and set aside at room temperature.
Beat cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about four minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat for an additional minute. Sift together the powdered sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, and then slowly add dry ingredients to the cream cheese mixture, mixing on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until medium-firm peaks form. Fold in the melted white chocolate. Fold 1/3 of the white chocolate/cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture, then gently fold in the rest. Pour the filling into the frozen crust and freeze for at least four hours.
For the blackberry topping:
3 c. blackberries
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
Combine blackberries, lemon zest, sugar, water, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes, stirring, as juices form and sugar dissolves. The berries will get mushy, but try not to let them disintegrate completely. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Stir in the Cointreau/Grand Marnier.
Pour blackberry mixture on top of frozen cake (see Note, above). Return the cake to the freezer and freeze for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Use a knife dipped in hot water to make clean, even slices. Allow the slices to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a glass of sparkling wine, if that’s how you roll.
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Speaking of sparkling wine, I always feel so damned elegant about anything that brings sparkling wine and berries together. It’s classic, yet sleek and sophisticated. When it came time to pick elegant lingerie to pair with a rich, decadent cake, I immediately thought of Angela Friedman. I’ve loved getting to know her and seeing her work over the last year, and her “Orchid” Corset for Autumn/Winter 2013 is … well, take a look.
This was one of my favorite pieces of hers she showed me back in February, and I’m delighted to see that it’s now available for purchase. If overbust corsets aren’t your thing, there’s a beautiful waspie version available as well.
Angela’s designs are definitely luxury items, but they’re the real deal: these are classic, steel-boned corsets that will nip in your waist and last for years. Check out her website for pictures of her current collections, and swing by her Etsy store to go shopping. I love her designs for the way they update classic, vintage construction with sleek, elegant colors and designs. Check out the way the lace on the white-and-black waspie above plays with the tuxedo-like elements of the boning and waist bow. Beautiful! Designs like this remind me that I really, really want to start saving up for a piece of custom lingerie. Get back to me in about five years, and we’ll see how I’m doing.