Recently, I contemplated the merits of a religion based on the worship of fried dough. I am still of the opinion that such a faith would be advantageous to all who believed. And now that I’ve been eating fresh strawberries for over a week, I believe that this religion should also include the worship of strawberries. Cream Puff cannot live by fried dough alone. Or can she? Hmmm … a question for another post.
I’ve mentioned previously on this blog that while I love a well-made tiramisÃ¹, it’s not a dessert that I often crave. How could anyone not crave tiramisÃ¹, you ask? While I assure you that I adore mascarpone, espresso and all of the other ingredients that go into a tiramisÃ¹, the problem is that for the longest time, it was the dessert of choice for every event from birthdays to baptisms to anniversaries. It appeared during every holiday and sometimes it even showed up mid-week for no other reason than it gave one the excuse to eat mascarpone.
And then it happened.
One of the worst food crimes ever to cross Cream Puff’s path. I actually came across a tiramisÃ¹ made with fake whipped topping instead of mascarpone. That was it! I turned my back on tiramisÃ¹ and all those who dared to forego the mascarpone in the interest of saving a few dollars. When it appeared on the table, I simply looked the other way.
I understand that mascarpone is expensive, not to mention hard to find. I understand that ladyfingers (known as savoiardi in Italian) can also be difficult to locate. I understand that not everyone likes espresso. This is why tiramisÃ¹ is not meant to be eaten every blessed day. This is the problem with the world we live in. We find something we like and then we make it to death. TiramisÃ¹ is a treat. It should be enjoyed on rare occasions. Savoured. Admired. Respected.
So for several years I lived a tiramisÃ¹-less life. And then this past April, I picked up a copy of Bon AppÃ©tit and was intrigued for within its pages lay a recipe for Strawberry TiramisÃ¹. Could this be the recipe that would make Cream Puff embrace tiramisÃ¹ once again? Why yes it could be! And it was!
It was glorious. Angels sang. I think there were even harps.
Admittedly, this is a departure from what we call tiramisÃ¹. It’s more of a trifle. As far as I’m concerned you can call it whatever you like. I call it good.
Praise the strawberries and pass the mascarpone!
This is my version:
- 1 cup strawberry jam
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier, plus one tablespoon extra
- 1-1/4 pounds mascarpone, at room temperature
- 1-1/3 cups whipping cream (35%)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ladyfingers or Savoiardi (you’ll need about 50)
- 1-1/2 to 2 pounds strawberries, washed, dried and sliced
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- In a bowl, combine the jam, water, orange juice and half of the Grand Marnier. Mix well. The mixture should be liquidy. Set aside
- In a bowl, combine the mascarpone and the remaining Grand Marnier. Mix well. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream with the sugar, vanilla extract and remaining 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- Take a quarter of the whipped cream mixture and stir into the mascarpone to lighten the mascarpone. Then add the remaining whipped cream mixture and fold gently into the mascarpone mixture. Set aside.
- Spread 1/2 of the jam mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. The mixture will be very liquidy but don’t worry about it. The ladyfingers will absorb the liquid.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest over the jam mixture.
- Line the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers, making sure to fill in every spot. If you have to snap the ladyfingers into smaller pieces in order to make them fit.
- Spread half of the mascarpone mixture evenly over the ladyfingers.
- Layer half of the sliced strawberries over the mascarpone.
- Spread the remaining jam mixture over the strawberries.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon zest over the strawberries and jam.
- Create a second layer of ladyfingers over the strawberries and jam. Again be sure to completely fill in the layer.
- Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.
- Layer the remaining strawberries on top.
- Chill for at least 12 hours before serving.
Note: I would recommend chilling for 24 hours. Chilling for 12 hours will do, but if you can hold off devouring this dessert, the extra time will really help it set.