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Chocolate-Orange-Ricotta Trifles

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Serves 6

These individual layered desserts combine the flavors of tiramisu and cannoli: rich chocolate, sweet and creamy ricotta, tender coffee-soaked cake, pistachios, and candied orange peel. Leftover sponge cake can be used to make shortcakes.

For the coffee syrup
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. strong brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. brandy or dark rum
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. granulated sugar
For the filling
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. chopped candied orange peel or zest (homemade or store-bought); more for garnish
  • 1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate sauce
  • 2 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
For assembly
  • 1 recipe Hot Milk Sponge Cake, baked in an 8x2-inch square pan
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
Make the coffee syrup

Combine the coffee, brandy, and sugar in a small glass and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.

Make the filling

In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, sugar, candied orange peel, and vanilla.

Make the chocolate sauce

Put the chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and 2 Tbs. water to a simmer; pour it over the chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth. If it looks curdled or too thick to drizzle, stir in drops of water or extra cream until you have a smooth, thick sauce.

Assemble the Trifles

Have ready six 4- to 5-oz. glasses. Cut three 1/2-inch-thick strips from the cake (reserve the rest of the cake for another use). Lay the slices flat on a cutting board and brush them with the syrup. Turn them over and brush them again, using all of the syrup. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Pour about one-third of the chocolate in the bottoms of the glasses. Sprinkle with about one-third of the pistachios. Top with half of the cake cubes, pressing them into a layer. Spoon about half of the ricotta mixture over the cake. Repeat with another layer of chocolate, pistachios, cake, and ricotta. Drizzle with the remaining chocolate, and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and additional candied orange peel.

Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours and up to 36 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Leftovers

Put your bounty of summer berries to good use with this refined take on the classic biscuit-style shortcake. Cut the leftover sponge cake into 2-inch square or round pieces. Split each piece horizontally and fill with sweetened berries and their juices (mixed with mashed berries to make the mixture saucier if you like) and whipped cream. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 280; Fat (g): fat g 16; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 9; Protein (g): protein g 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 25; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 70; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 70; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is just delicious. I made it with Guittard bittersweet chocolate and dark rum. The cake can be made ahead and kept in the freezer, along with the candied orange peel, so this dessert goes together quickly when special occasions arise.

This is just delicious. I made it with Guittard bittersweet chocolate and dark rum. The cake can be made ahead and kept in the freezer, along with the candied orange peel, so this dessert goes together quickly when special occasions arise.

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