Many of y'all know that I love my public library and make a point to stop by frequently. And one of the most fun things I do when I visit the library is check out the selection of newly released cookbooks. I usually bring one or two home, and yes, I do judge cookbooks by their covers (in addition to judging them by the quantity of photographs they contain). I just think that actually trying to prepare one or two recipes from a cookbook is really the only way to find out the value of the book. Plus, if you like giving cookbooks (and coffee table books) as gifts, like I do, then you want to make sure you've given them a test drive before giving them.
Anyway, the other day at the library I checked out a new Southern Living cookbook called The Half Hour Hostess featuring Rebecca Kracke Gordon. I decided to check this one out for a few reasons: (1) I usually enjoy perusing Southern Living publications; (2) I immediately opened the book to the page for limoncello trifle; and (3) I also noticed that one of the sections provides recipes for the hostess of a doggy birthday party, which I'm pretty sure is in my future at some point.
As the title of this post suggests, it's really about the trifle, because, you see, we L-O-V-E trifle in my family -- typically strawberry trifle with just the right amount of sherry, and I'm talking about a-devour-the-whole-bowl-in-one-sitting kind of love. (And yes, as some of you well know, there's also a special place in my heart for limoncello, which is the perfect summer nightcap, or if you're like me, the perfect way to get the party started! Only kidding. Sort of.)
Anyway, back to the recipe. I haven't had a chance to make it yet, but I look forward to trying it soon. And I'm hoping that by writing this post, maybe, just maybe, my mom will decide to have the ingredients on hand for my next visit. (Notice how I said I look forward to "trying it" instead of "making it"? Yep, I'm that kind of shameless.)
So, here it is:
Limoncello Trifle, courtesy of Southern Living
Makes 10 to 12 servings (Who are they kidding?)
Hands-on time: 10 minutes (They've obviously never seen me in the kitchen.)
Total time: 30 minutes
1 (40-oz.) store-bought vanilla pound cake (For the non-30 minute version of this recipe, I'm guessing that you make your own cake.)
1 (8-oz.) package mascarpone cheese (Thanks to Giada, a lot of stores now carry this.)
1 (10-oz.) jar lemon curd (Don't laugh, but we often find this at T.J.Maxx or HomeGoods of all places.)
2 (4-oz.) vanilla instant pudding cups (Again, for the non-30 minute version, I'm guessing you could make the pudding.)
2/3 cup limoncello, well chilled
2 1/2 cups thawed, frozen whipped topping
Garnish: lemon zest
1. Cut the pound cake into bite-sized pieces to yield 6 cups. Reserve the remaining cake for another use. (Any ideas for another use here, people?) Place half of the cake cubes in a 2 1/2 quart trifle bowl.
2. Combine cheese, lemon curd, and vanilla pudding, stirring well.
3. Drizzle 1/3 cup of the limoncello over the cake in the bowl. Spoon 1 1/4 cups lemon curd mixture over the cake. Top with 1 cup whipped topping. Repeat layers once, ending with remaining 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Chill 20 minutes to 24 hours. Garnish with lemon zest before serving, if desired.
Now because my mom's a trifle master, I bet she'll have some suggestions for improving this recipe. And just so I'm clear here, that's totally fine with me. However you want to make it, mom, I'll be sure to be there to eat it.
As for the cookbook, it gets high marks from me. The pictures are pretty, and the party ideas are cute without being ridiculous or cheesy. Plus, the recipes are straightforward but surprisingly diverse, and in all, the book might just make you want to host a backyard picnic or a dessert party.
What about you? What's your favorite devour-the-whole-thing-in-one-sitting dessert? Do you have any good trifle recipes? Or any embarrassing limoncello stories? Do tell.