Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Some Assembly Required

This post is also available as an article in the 6/27/2012 Williamsport Sun Gazette.

Once, back in high school, we were having a party and I was responsible for dessert. It was already the roaring heat of summer, much like now, so I decided to do something other than baking; something like tiramisu. I went a little overboard, doubling the amount of egg yolks to enrich the custard and finally adding a whole stick of butter because I wanted a conspicuously golden hue to contrast with the white whipped cream. Perhaps the only thing that saved me in the end was drowning everything in shaved chocolate, fresh raspberries, and mint sprigs.
Raspberries fix everything
Lesson learned: with tiramisu, you can take it easy. The great thing about tiramisu, and I'm sorry to spoil it for some, is that its cute little Italian name immediately triggers responses of "ooh, he made tiramisu!" as if it is an incredible accomplishment, when in fact it simply makes clever use of assembly. If you can stir, sprinkle, and stack, you can make a deceivingly fancy dessert. Unless you plan on baking the ladyfingers yourself, you don't even need to turn on the oven.

You pretty much just put it together and then let it sit there
Traditionally, tiramisu features espresso, coffee liqueur, and slivered chocolate-which are all amazing-but especially for summer, I had berries on my mind. First I was leaning raspberry, but with 4th of July edging ever closer, I decided to add some blueberries to the mix as well. While being no less sophisticated, this tiramisu is lighter, fresher, and fruitier than the original.

Fruit, as promised
Mascarpone cheese, a thicker, Italian version of cream cheese, provides the rich cream layer. When lightened with a cloud of stiffly whipped cream, it makes a quick no-cook custard that's glossy and smooth. Fluffy ladyfinger cookies provide delicate structure and sweet jam and berries cause it to  explode with flavor. No less than three liqueurs contribute sharp and varied notes, guaranteeing this is a dessert strictly for adults (or replace the booze with lemon juice).

Let them eat cake
Red, white, and blue tiramisu

If you don't feel like buying that many different liqueurs for one dessert (blueberry is a little obscure), look for the little "nips" bottles at the register, or the orange will take care of it all.

1 c seedless raspberry jam
4 tbs raspberry liqueur
1 c blueberry jam
4 tbs blueberry liqueur
1 1/2 lb mascarpone cheese, softened
4 tbs orange liqueur
1 c whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
48 ladyfinger cookies (available in the bakery of most supermarkets)
11 oz raspberries
11 oz blueberries

Grease a clear glass 9x13x2" pan.
Together at last
In two small, separate bowls, combine the raspberry jam with the raspberry liqueur and the blueberry jam with the blueberry liqueur. Whisk each until thoroughly incorporated.

Nice and easy
Combine the mascarpone cheese and orange liqueur in a large glass bowl. In another bowl, combine the heavy cream,  sugar, and vanilla. Whip the cream with a wire whisk or electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Smooth
Gently fold 1/2 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining cream and continue folding until just mixed.
Line the bottom of the pan with a single, even layer of ladyfingers, then drizzle and spread them with the blueberry jam mixture. Follow this with a smoothed layer of 1/2 the mascarpone cheese mixture.
It may get a little messy. Keep calm and carry on
Sprinkle with half the berries, then add another layer of ladyfingers, soaking them with the raspberry mixture...

Soaking in goodness
..and topping with the remaining mascarpone and berries.

Sprinkle or try to place with annoying precision - your choice
Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. The flavors improve and develop over time.

Festive
 Serve cold and garnish with additional whipped cream and berries, if desired.

Cheers!

3 comments:

MyFudo™ said...

Now this is the real thing...definitely oohs and aahs with this delicious treat! I love the berries in this recipe.

Pencil Kitchen said...

berry overload in Tiramisu!!!

James Pereira said...

Thanks, all! It is a lot of berries, I just can't help myself.

The other day my 4-year-old nephew helpfully informed me that, while he may've been pushing black raspberries at the farm stand, he could tell they weren't blackberries because "raspberries are the ones you can put on your fingers." A good thing to keep in mind, should you have any extra...