With Labor Day weekend ahead, it’s time to celebrate the lush bounty of late summer harvest. We only have a few more weeks of summer splendor to enjoy, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy the season is having dinner with friends.
When I’m entertaining, I love to add an element of surprise to my dishes. Here, summery peaches and ricotta cheese transform a simple icebox cake into a sophisticated send-off for summer and its bounty.
Traditionally, icebox cakes are made with whipped cream, but I’ve found the addition of Wisconsin ricotta cheese imbues the cake with a subtle tang and richness – along the lines of cheesecake – and makes for a spectacular summer treat. This pretty, no-bake cake is a cinch to make – just keep in mind that you’ll want it to have plenty of time to chill in the fridge before serving.
By Brooklyn Supper
Servings: makes one 9-inch cake
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk Wisconsin ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80 1 3/4-inch lemon wafer cookies
3 cups peaches, peeled and thinly sliced, plus 1/2 cups additional slices for topping
Line 9-inch springform cake pan with plastic wrap.
With electric mixer on low, combine 3 cups cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and lemon zest. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat cream until very soft peaks form. Remove 2 cups of mixture; cover and reserve in refrigerator. Using silicone spatula, fold ricotta and vanilla into remaining whipped cream.
In small bowl, toss peaches with remaining 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Remove and reserve a few slices. To assemble cake, spread dollop of whipped cream/ricotta mixture over bottom of prepared cake pan. Arrange layer of wafer cookies, fitting cookies tightly against one another and using broken cookies to fill any gaps. Cover cookie layer with 1/2-inch layer of whipped cream/ricotta mixture, about 1-2 cups. Arrange a layer of sliced peaches over; cover with thin layer of whipped cream/ricotta mixture. Repeat with 2 additional layers in this order: cookies, whipped cream mixture, peaches and another layer of whipped cream/ricotta mixture. Top with final layer of cookies and thin layer of whipped cream mixture. Cover cake top with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.
When ready to serve, remove cake from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap from cake top. Carefully flip pan onto cake plate; unlatch spring form and peel off plastic wrap. Spread reserved whipped cream on top of cake. Garnish with sliced peaches. Cake should be kept in refrigerator until just before serving.