Sunday, 7 June 2009

Raspberry Tiramisu

Let me speak the truth about tiramisu. I am the first to admit it's got a lot going for it. Halfway between a cake and a pudding, it suits most occasions, be it a simple holiday meal or an elegant dinner party. It works in the winter, after a stew of root vegetables, but also rounds off an alfresco summer dinner beautifully. On the practical front it's a doddle to make, requiring no oven and the dirtying of only one dish (More in a follow-up post about that great kitchen skill observed only in women and which consists of getting a meal on the table without soiling three bowls, two pans, 12 wooden spoons and the impossible-to-clean mixer robot)

Coming back to the tiramisu, its single biggest asset, in my mind at least, is that everyone always loves it. That dessert is the blockbuster of all puddings, the Star Wars of sweets. It doesn't flop. You may have eaten it a hundred times before and know exactly how the plot of creamy mascarpone will combine with the coffee-gorged biscuits to dissolve into velvety smoothness, and yet you will grin stupidly when it appears on the table, grateful that familiarity doesn't always breed contempt.

And still, I don't make tiramisu. In 15 years of experimenting in the kitchen with all sorts of sweet delights ('douxdelices'). I have never made one. Something always stops me. I don't have mascarpone. I don't own the right dish. I forgot it needs to be made at least a day in advance and now I only have three hours before my guests arrive. None of these are good, or honest reasons.

So here goes the truth. Everyone can make a tiramisu. That is the sad sad truth. My competitive streak in the kitchen is what has deprived my dear friends of tiramisu for so long. But I am happy to declare that these days are now over, for by swapping a few ingredients so no Italian would tolerate it being called a tiramisu, I have made the concoction my own. Call it what you like. It is as much a trifle or a pavlova as a tiramisu, but I think of it as the latter because I first got the inspiration for it from Nigela Lawson's white tiramisu recipe in How to Eat.

I generally find the pairing of fruit and almonds impossible to resist. Here the almond flavor is provided by the amaretto but I supposed you could also use almond essence or a different liquor entirely. I think Baileys, 
Rum or blackberry cream would work well too.


18 Italian savoiardi (or sponge biscuits)
Store-bought meringues
2 eggs, separated
400 g
120g sugar (I used organic unrefined caster sugar, which works fine although it's not white)
250 ml full fat milk
5 tablespoons amaretto (Italian almond-flavored liquor)
300 g raspberries

Choose a dish that can fit 9 savoiardi in single layer. It doesn't have to be square, you can use a salad bowl as long as its base is wide enough to fit the biscuits. Using a whisk, beat the yolks with the sugar until creamy. Gradually fold in the mascarpone, still using the whisk to avoid any lumps. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until firm. Using a wooden spoon, add to the mascarpone mixture.
Mix the amaretto and the milk in a soup plate. Soak each savoiardi for a few seconds. Be quick, you don't want them to get mushy. Line your dish with 9 savoiardi. On top of them, spread a third of your mascarpone mixture. Add a layer of crumbed meringue. Alternate one more time savoiardimascarpone and meringues. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, better a whole day.

Just before you're ready to serve, take the dish out of the fridge, spread the rest of your mascarpone cream on top of the concoction. Add more meringue crumbs and your raspberries.

1 comment:

  1. This looks pretty good, how about the calory count???