All week I have been wanting to come here and post, chat and just have a bit of normalcy. All week nothing felt normal. Things that were big to me meant nothing once the television was turned on. Natural tragedies, political and social changes. The words I was dissecting were just that. Words. Yes, posting seemed trivial. Yes, meeting clients and working on shoots felt awkward.
At the same time, it was what I had to do. What I must do in order to help others. When thousands of people In Japan could use a lending hand, now is not the time to sit and be idle. Now is the time to work, work more and as much, often, ... so that one can participate in the rebuilding efforts through donations, raffles, organized to help people who right now face the most gutt wrenching uncertainties of their lives.
Yes, I can do my part. I have given and I will again when asked. So can you. We all can. We can show our humanities. Aside from various events I am participating in, I also would like to do extend the way I contribute by involving you guys.
For each of my prints purchased through my etsy shop, I will donate $20 of its amount to the Red Cross for Japan. My goal is to raise at least $1000. That's 50 prints. We can do this! You'll help a great organization and receive a professionally printed picture for your home. If you want to help me, head over here: Tartelette on etsy.
Like most of you, every daily activity, every bit of work done this past week was tinted with a strong feeling of compassion and heartache for everyone out there in the world facing hardship. The one way I found to honor the memory of the missing was to keep up with that daily routine and once again count my blessings and hug my loved ones a little stronger while saying good morning.
It meant paying close attention to keeping a positive attitude and quiet inner peace while at work on difficult projects. It also made me react the same way I do when things are off kilter with the world, I gather friends and family for dinner. I do what I know to do well. Sitting everyone down around a good meal and listen to their story. Letting people unload around a sweet little nosh and a glass of wine is one of the best therapies I know.
It's been a busy week but I still wanted to come up with something refreshing that would pair well with the gorgeous weather and warm weather we are having here. It is Spring after all. It does get from warm to hot in days however, which is quite perfect timing for something as light and airy as a Mixed Berry Trifle.
Layers of homemade almond lemon cake, clouds of fresh whipped cream, and the mild tang of raspberries and blueberries. No one seemed to have issues making their spoons cling all the way to the bottom in appreciation. Appreciate the little things in life. Something I am quite fond of.
One more thing before the recipe: the winner of "Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes from the Macaron Cafe" by Cecile Cannone is...Janelle from Leemaemarie. Email me your snail mail info at mytartelette at gmail dot come and I'll get the book off to you!
Mixed Berry Trifle with Almond Lemon Cake:
Makes enough for 4 to 6 and you'll have some leftover cake which is great toasted for breakfast!
Almond Lemon Cake:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (112gr) unblanched sliced almonds
3/4 cup plus 2.5 tablespoons (180gr) sugar, divided
6 large eggs
2 large egg whites
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons white rice flour
Preheat the oven to 325F/160C.
Line a 8 to 9-inch round cake pan with a piece of parchment paper and lightly grease with some melted butter or cooking spray. Reserve.
Toast the almonds on a separate baking sheet until pale golden, about 7 minutes.
Cool completely and pulse the almonds with 2.5 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Stop before the nuts start to form a paste.
Place the eggs into a 2-cup measure with a spout and whisk them just to break them up.
In a stand mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium low speed until foamy. Increase the speed and whisk until soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining cup of sugar. Continue beating until the meringue is thick and glossy. With the beater off, stir in the almond mixture until evenly incorporated.
Re-attach the whisk and with the mixer on medium speed, add the beaten eggs to the meringue, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. It should take a total of 20-25 minutes but be sure to beat for a minimum of 20 minutes. Add the lemon zest.
Sprinkle the flour over the batter and fold until completely incorporated. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately poke holes in the cake with a fork. Pour the lemon juice over the holes and let the cake cool completely before using it.
1 generous cup fresh raspberries (if using frozen, thaw them before using)
1 tablespoon honey
1 generous cup fresh blueberries (same as above if frozen)
1 cup heavy cream whipped to soft peaks with one tablespoon honey
Reserve some raspberries and blueberries for decoration purposes and mash the rest with one tablespoon of honey in a small non reactive bowl. Divide the mixture among 4 glasses. Cut 2 or 3 slices of cake in small 1/2-inch cubes and layer some pieces over the raspberry puree. Add a layer of whipped cream. Add a layer of blueberries. Add a layer of cake and a final layer of whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Decorate with fresh berries if desired.