Friday, June 24, 2011

A Simple Tiramisú with Raspberries

Tiramisú is a classic. And rightfully so. Fluffy dollups of fresh, sweet mascarpone whipped cream with the warmth of vanilla and the slight bite of brandy or liqueur. Espresso- soaked ladyfingers and shavings or a dusting of rich, dark chocolate. Perfection. 

And then along came raspberries. Nestled into the light, airy layers. Infused into the whipped cream in the form of raspberry liqueur. 

Raspberries don't have a lot of competition in the berry world, as far as I'm concerned. Growing up, we had a couple dozen raspberry bushes, and in the summer when the big, beautiful berries were at the peak of ripeness, we would eat them right off the plants - by the handful. 

It was a miracle any berries made it into a colander and back into the house. I've still been known to eat an entire basket of raspberries in one sitting. By myself. On the way back from the market. 

I inherited this trait from my mother, who equally indulges in these voluptuous little red berries. In celebration of a little escape to my hometown to visit my parents next week, I'm making this decadent treat for her. This twist on the classic is sinfully delicious and just in time for summer. That is, if the star ingredient hasn't mysteriously disappeared, one-by-one (or by the handful) first. Maybe buy an extra basket - or two.

Continue after the jump for recipes...

A Simple Tiramisú with Raspberries 
Serves 4- 6
For the Whipped Cream:

1 cup Mascarpone Cheese (Italian Cream Cheese)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
4 tablespoons Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1. Add mascarpone cheese, vanilla bean paste and Chambord to a mixing bowl. Stir with a spatula until combined. 
2. Add sugar, stir until combined.
3. Pour very cold cream into the mixture. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, or a hand whisk and some elbow grease, beat mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. 
4. Store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

*Note: Vanilla extract can be substituted for the vanilla bean paste at a 1:1 ratio. Vanilla bean paste is a nice (and less time-consuming) alternative to using fresh vanilla from pods and leaves the cream be-speckled with vanilla seeds.

For the layers:

12-14 Ladyfingers (Italian Savoiardi cookies)
2 oz prepared espresso, or very strong coffee, cooled.
1 basket of fresh raspberries
3 oz. dark chocolate, shaved or chopped finely

1. Trim ladyfingers to fit snugly in two layers (I used an 8.5" Calphalon loaf pan).
2. Gently dip each ladyfinger in the espresso, being careful to quickly soak each side without allowing the cookie to get too soggy.
3. Layer the ladyfingers, side-by-side in the bottom of the pan. 
4. Add half of the whipped-cream mixture and arrange half of the raspberries evenly on top.
5. Sprinkle half of the chocolate shavings across the layer.
6. Repeat steps three through five.
7. Cover top with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, but preferably several hours or overnight.

*Note: Serve on individual plates along with some fresh espresso, or for some family-style decadence, set out the whole container and some spoons and let everyone dig in!

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