Mascarpone Cream with Nutella and Raspberries

As most of you probably already know I have an identical twin sister, Alexandra (this is one of my favorite things about myself). Like most identical twins, we have many things in common, like: our birthday, our dark green eye color, our inability to do Math (we both nearly failed Geometry), our love for foreign languages (we both studied Spanish and Italian), our choice to live in Rome, and of course our DNA. Some things that differentiate us are: our haircuts (I have short hair, she has long) our taste in music, punctuality (I’m always on time, while she takes her time, always) and our fingerprints, because even identical twins have their own sets of fingerprints. Perhaps the biggest difference between us however is the fact that Allie does not like to cook or bake. That’s right -- the culinary gene passed down from my grandparents and mom seems to have gone to only one twin. As much as Allie loves and appreciates food, she has never liked to actually prepare food. She is easily overwhelmed by ingredient lists -- more than six items is too much -- shies away from anything that requires the oven, and reads cookbooks if only to choose recipes to be made for her by yours truly. Her contributions to dinner parties are flowers for the table, festive napkins and cutlery from Tiger, and an ironed table cloth, all of which while important, are not edible. Allie has no love for the kitchen.

 That being said, there are recipes easy enough to not scare away my sister, or anyone else who shares her view on cooking -- recipes that require only a handful of ingredients, a few steps, and a little timE. This Mascarpone Cream with Nutella and Raspberries is one such recipe. If you can find two bowls, plug in an electric mixer, and spoon ingredients into a serving dish, you can make this dessert. It takes only a few minutes to prepare and requires no baking, cooling, frosting, or batches, and best of all, looks super fancy and luxurious for something so simple. And how does it taste? To that I answer: how can you go wrong with layers of creamy sweet mascarpone, rich chocolate-y Nutella, and fresh tart raspberries?! This dessert is spectacular, and I have complete faith that my sister -- or anyone else who avoids the kitchen -- could handle this recipe with flying colors.

A couple of notes: Mascarpone cheese, if you're not familiar, is a creamy soft Italian cheese similar to ricotta but thicker and richer, traditionally used in tiramis├╣ and sometimes in cheesecake. If you'd like, you can substitute chocolate crushed chocolate cookies for the raspberries to give this dessert a little crunch and an extra hit of chocolate, or use both cookies and raspberries. You could probably make this a Nutella mascarpone cream by beating a little Nutella into the mascarpone mixture instead of layering it separately (I plan to try this soon). I found this served about 4 people with the (large) serving dishes I had, but it could easily serve more depending on what dishes you are using. If you're making dessert for a bigger crowd, the recipe doubles very easily. Note that I haven’t put the quantities for the Nutella or the raspberries, because I’ve left those up to you, depending on how of each you want to put. I’d guess I used about 1 cup raspberries though, and about two spoonfuls of Nutella for each serving. Lastly, this dessert requires no oven and is served cold, making it an ideal dessert for summer. Enjoy!

1 cup + 3 tablespoons (or one 250g container) Mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 serving dishes 

In a large bowl, beat together the mascarpone and sugar until fluffy, scraping down the sides. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla to the whipped cream and beat briefly to combine. Fold the whipped cream into the Mascarpone. Beat the whipped cream/mascarpone mixture very briefly to combine (just a few seconds).

Take each individual serving dish and place a spoonful or two of Nutella at the bottom. Top with a few raspberries and then some of the mascarpone cream. Repeat the layers -- nutella, raspberries, and mascarpone cream -- ending with mascarpone cream. Top the desserts with a few berries to garnish. Refrigerate the desserts for about 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4, approximately.  

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