VSream, cake, roasted fruit and bit of alcohol will always make for a showstopping pudding. This one gives off strong La Dolce Vita vibes with its limoncello-soaked sponge, sticky roast apricots and lashings of whipped mascarpone. Don’t be put off by the different elements here; everything can be made in advance and assembled on the day you’re serving.
Apricot, limoncello and mascarpone pudding
Prep 20 mins
cooking 1 hr 45 mins
Chill 1 hour
For the sponge
160g caster sugar
135g plain flour
For the apricots
700g ripe apricots (about 12)
50g 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
80g egg white
140g caster sugar
Heat the oven to 120C (110C fan)/230F/gas low and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Start with the meringues. Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, making sure each one has dissolved before adding more. Once the meringue is thick and glossy, spoon six dollops on to the baking tray. Bake for 35-45 minutes, then turn off the oven, leave them to cool for an hour, then remove and transfer to a rack.
Turn up the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Cut the apricots in half and discard the kernels. Put the fruit in a large baking dish, and toss with the sugar, 50ml limoncello, lemon juice and 50ml 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 leaving them a little chunky. Set aside to cool.
For the cake, grease and line a 25cm x 20cm cake tin. Turn down the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4.
Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high speed for four to six minutes, until the mix is thick, pale and has more than doubled in volume. Sift a third of the flour on top of the eggs and fold it in very gently, taking care not to knock out too much air. Add the remaining flour in two batches, folding in each addition carefully and making sure there isn’t any flour hiding at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Once cool, cut the cake in half horizontally, to get two thin layers, and brush both generously with the remaining limoncello.
To make 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, put one cake in the bottom of a 22cm x 28cm platter, and top with a third of the apricots and half the mascarpone cream. Crush half the meringue shells and sprinkle them on top. Repeat with the second layer of cake, some more apricots and the remaining cream. Break up the remaining meringue into large chunks and sprinkle on top along with any extra apricots and some chopped pistachios. Chill for an hour before serving.