This is a fantastic dessert to showcase the multitude of Oregon’s wild berries. It is colorful, flavorful, and just plain fun.
There are two complementary flavors in this dish that really let these native PNW berries sing. One is the Italian cream cheese, mascarpone, which adds a luxurious mouthfeel and accentuates the berry flavors. The other is lemon. Pastry chefs know that lemon and berries are perfectly harmonious, and the Meyer lemon zest with the limoncello elevate a simple berry cup to a decadent adult treat.
If you love nuts, try sprinkling chopped hazelnuts (also known as filberts) onto the cream topping with the lemon zest. Oregon leads the nation in commercial hazelnut production, and one species, the Western Beaked Hazelnut, is indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.
¾ cup chilled whipping cream
½ cup mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons limoncello
3 cups thimble berries
3 cups black huckleberries
1 cup salal
1 cup salmonberries
½ cup marionberry preserves
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
Optional: ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
Combine whipping cream, mascarpone, sugar, and limoncello in a medium bowl, and beat using an electric mixer until mixture becomes thick but is still creamy.
In a larger bowl, combine the fresh berries and preserves and one tablespoon of the lemon zest. Mix very gently using your fingers, as thimbleberries are quite delicate. Divide the berry mixture among 8 champagne coupes or ramekins. Top each serving with the limoncello-mascarpone cream then sprinkle with the additional lemon zest and, if desired, chopped hazelnuts.