lady finger mascarpone orange dessert

Orange mascarpone lady finger dessert @ chef in disguise

I finally got to see rise of the guardians with the kids. The kids loved it but I  have to say this is one animated movie I think I enjoyed more than them!

Apart from the amazing visuals, the new take on all the characters (being a dentist I have to admit that I loved the new take on why tooth fairies collect teeth and found the tooth fairies obsession rather amusing) it was two things that I took home with me from the movie and I have to say, I am still thinking about them.

We’ll start with the easier one, at the very end of the movie, pitch (the representative of everything evil, wrong and scary in the world) asks Jamie (the last believing child) if he believes in him and the revelation Jamie has is that he does believe in him  but he does not fear him. It was one of those AHA moments. The very definition of growing up, knowing that the world is not all rainbows, roses and happy endings. Knowing that there is more to fear than the thought of a monster under your bed. Knowing that there are horrible, bad and scary things in the world out there and at some point you are bound to cross roads with them.Yet, you do not fear them, you do not fear going on, you take on your challenges one at a time, focus on the red as Cecilia so beautifully put it and keep going.

oranges

The second  AHA moment, if you will, was when Santa (Who is  tough, tattooed and  can wield two swords one moment and play with his workshop’s toys (made not by elves but by yetis!)tells Jack frost that we are all like those Russian wooden nesting toys, the ones where you open up a toy to find another one inside it then another one inside that until you get to a small toy at the center. We all have layers that make us who we are. Santa for instance says that on the outside he may seem big and scary but if you get to know him you’ll find out that he is also  jolly, mysterious , fearless , and caring but at the very center he has big eyes 🙂 eyes that see the wonder in everything and it is that wonder that her protects in kids. He ends by asking him what is your center and the question has been resonating in my head ever since!

What is my center? What makes me tick? What is or should be the driving force in my life?

I am alot of things. I am curious, caring, passionate and forgiving. Yet at the same time I am a perfectionist who is very very hard on herself, I can be insecure and I have my moments when I completely lose confidence in myself and everything around me. Go deeper and I am someone who loves to learn and believes that the day you stop seeking new knowledge and ways to make yourself, your life better and more productive is the day you die. Death does not come when you stop breathing, it comes when you shutdown your brain. A little deeper, I am this. A little deeper I am that but at the very center, what am I ?

I still don’t have the answer.

So tell me my dear reader, do you know YOUR answer to this question: What is your center?

oranges raw

Today’s recipe was born when I tried making my own mascarpone cheese using John’s recipe and was thinking of a dessert that will highlight how amazingly creamy and velvety homemade mascarpone is! At first, I served it sweetened with some sugar along side some ladyfinger cookies and strawberries. It was heavenly as is but then my husband walks in with these beautiful oranges and I can’t help but think there must be a way to combine all these colors and flavors. A layered lady finger dessert is my first thought.

mascarpone cheese@chef in disguise

The end result were fluffy, clouds of lady finger cookies, silky smooth mascarpone, strawberries to cut the richness of the cheese and cream, orange zest and candied orange slices to add a floral citrusy note. All those heavenly flavors, colors and texures in one easy dessert. The beauty of this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time (up to a couple of days in advance). it can be made in stages. Make the cream on one day, assemble the dessert on the next. It looks elegant but requires minimal effort.

If you are still looking for more creative ways to use mascarpone, check out  this beauty from Rufus’ food and spirit guide

Lady finger mascarpone orange dessert recipe

2 packs lady finger biscuits

1 cup heavy whipping cream (if you are using the powdered whipped cream then you will need 2 envelopes and 1/2 cup of milk)

1 cup mascarpone cheese (You can make your own mascarpone using John’s recipe)

2 small bananas

3 tablespoons cream cheese

2 cups strawberries cut into stips

Zest of one orange

1 cup of milk or orange juice (or your fruit juice of choice)to dunk the lady fingers in

Candied orange slices for decoration (recipe follows)

Instructions

Dunk your lady finger cookies in the milk or juice a few at a time. Make sure that you don’t leave them in the milk for more than a few seconds or they will get soggy

Line the sides and bottom of a  7 inch round springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan use a transparent glass serving bowl) with lady fingers that you have dunked in the milk or juice

In another bowl mash the bananas and add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.

Add the whipping cream, orange zest and mascarpone and beat until the cream thickens and forms soft peaks.

Spread 1/3 of the banana cream mix on the bottom layer of lady finger biscuits

Spread 1/2 of the strawberry slices on top of the cream

Arrange another layer of lady finger cookies that you have dunked in the milk or juice followed by another cream and strawberries topped with another layer of cookies

Spread the last 1/3 of the cream on top of the final layer of cookies

Decorate with your choice of fruit, I chose to use candied orange slices.

Candied orange slices

Recipe source

3 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

2 navel orange, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

In a pot, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil.

Add the orange slices and cook over moderate heat, turning them occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the orange slices are translucent, about 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup is thick and the slices are tender but still intact, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the orange slices to a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup for another use.

candied orange slices can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

oranges with blossoms

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