Raspberry Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Although admitting it may well get me thrown out of baking school, out of Daring Bakers, and quite possibly out of the entire human race, I’ve never been a big fan of tiramisu. It’s really the only dessert I ever flat-out said I didn’t like. I know, I know. I love coffee. I’m not averse to spirits. But lady fingers sodden with same and buried in acres of creamy creaminess… it’s just never tweaked my biscuit.

Well, consider my biscuit tweaked. I changed things up just a bit by adding fresh raspberries between the layers, skipping the espresso, and instead soaking the lady fingers with cake syrup flavored with just a hint of citrus liqueur. Now there’s a dessert I can love to eat. And eat… and eat.

The cream in this — a mixture of whipped cream, mascarpone, pastry cream, and zabaglione (all made from scratch) — can be summed up in three words: A. May. Zing. I didn’t have marsala for the zabaglione, but white port made a fine stand-in. Since I didn’t know how much I would end up needing for my 7-inch round tiramisu, I made a double batch of the cream — which was pretty much exactly double what I needed, but I can testify that it’s delicious over fresh fruit. (It might even be wonderful as spoonfuls stolen right from the mixing bowl, but I plead the Fifth on that one.)

I also made a double batch of lady fingers (aka Savoiardi biscuits), so I’d have enough to encircle the tiramisu with them. After making templates on parchment (remembering to turn the parchment over to avoid getting ink on my biscuits!)…

I piped three 6-inch discs for the center and lanes of “fingers” for the edge, making them close enough together that they would fuse a bit during baking and make it easier to line the cake ring.

This being a Daring Bakers event, a mishap was in order. I swear I do not stage these gaffes for comic effect.

I scraped the damage back into the piping bag and recovered enough to repipe and carry on with the baking.

To say assembling the tiramisu was a snap would not be a lie. Yes, once the lady fingers were baked and cooled, once the marscapone, zabalglione, and pastry cream were made and chilled, once the cake syrup was boiled and cooled, once the cream was whipped and combined with the other creamy elements, once three half-pints of fresh raspberries were washed and carefully dried, then assembling the tiramisu was a real snap.

I lined the sides of the cake ring with parchment, followed by the lady finger strip (in two pieces), then placed a lady finger round in the bottom and brushed it with the syrup.

Then a layer of cream, studded with raspberries, followed by two more iterations of syrup-soaked lady finger round, cream, and raspberries.

I crowded the third (top) layer of raspberries as densely as I could, and garnished with a few flaky dark chocolate curls and some snow sugar.

Oh Yes! This month hosts, my friends Aparna and Deeba, titled this challenge “Heaven on a Dessert Plate.” I might consider replacing the word “Heaven” with something even more… evocative. Use your imagination.

Find inspiration from stunning Tiramisus by hundreds of other Daring Bakers. Then find the recipe* and go tweak your own biscuit.

*Note: I made my cake syrup by bringing 150 g sugar and 100 g water to a boil, then adding 4 T. Tuaca (Italian citrus liqueur).

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Susan, your Tiramisu is indeed crying out to me “pick me up”! Looks beautiful. Happy to have converted you to a Tiramisu lover. :)
    Thanks for baking with us.

  2. says

    OMG! Wowee! Stunning! You are really weaving the cake magic here, Susan. Really! And the flavors you used and the fresh raspberries are perfect! Fabulous!

  3. Steve2inLA says

    It DOES look fantastic but haven’t you built a Trifle you’re calling a Tiramisu?

    (According to “Practically Edible” the Food Encyclopedia,”Tiramisu” (“tira” meaning “pick”, verb “tirare”; “mi” meaning “me”; “su” meaning “up”) means “pick me up.” “Tiramisù is a coffee-flavoured sponge cake that is a take on trifle. In the range of Italian desserts, it is classified as a semi-freddo. It is a layered dessert, made from chocolate, espresso, mascarpone cheese and pan di spagna. It is topped with whipped cream, dusted with cocoa powder and ground cinnamon, and sprinkled with grated chocolate.”)

    No offense ’cause it doesn’t actually change the fabulousness of the dish. Just thought a bit of verisimilitude should be injected.

    Love the blog by the way. Found lots of great ideas here. Keep up the good work.

  4. says

    That’s gorgeous! I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of a fruity tiramisu but you may just have converted me.

    Great idea of making the ladyfingers into a strip, too – a lot less fuss than making them stand up on their own as I did. Less seeping between them, too. Love the ribbon touch as well.

  5. says

    Gorgeous and I’m sure infinitely edible. I love tiramisu. Well, I guess I should say I love the tiramisu from a particular hotel cafe in Rome and none that I’ve ever come across in the states. Rome ruined it for me stateside other than to make it myself and it is so difficult to find the crispy, hard ladyfingers that I like to use… I absolutely love how you let yours bake together to help with assembly. Genius.

  6. says

    I love your pre-planning and the layer-cake look to your tiramisu. It’s gorgeous!

    I absolutely agree. The most amazing tiramisu I’ve ever had, and it really is a snap to make! (After the ladyfingers, the zabaglione, the pastry cream, etc. hehe, as you too pointed out.)

    But that’s a testament to this tiramisu. It’s so good that when you’re assembling it, the 90 min or so making the custards/creams the night before and the 90 min or so you spend on the ladyfingers (I know, I’m slow) seems like nothing.

    Grats. Wonderful job. :)

  7. says

    Thank you everyone for your very kind words. The fusing of the lady fingers into a strip is a trick we learned in school — worth my tuition, I guess!

    Steve2, yes, perhaps I have taken some license with the word “tiramisu,” although I am certainly not the first to do so. Giada di Laurentis and Dorie Greenspan, to name two, have published recipes for (espresso-less) raspberry tiramisu. And Carol Field’s version of tiramisu, in her book “The Italian Baker,” also contains no espresso. You can read more of my thoughts about dish-naming here: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/08/06/kiss-my-ciabatta/

  8. says

    Susan, you continue to amaze and astound me — this is absolutely stunning to behold and has me seriously considering a dash to the kitchen to start creating. Thanks for giving tired tiramisu a fresh outlook. Bellissimo!

  9. says

    Wow, What a stunning version for the tiramisu!
    It looks anazing and your photos are just mouth watering. Beautifully done!
    (also a DB)

  10. Janice Harden Brisciano says

    Is there a reason I cannot copy and paste this recipe to my email and then put it in my dessert folder.. wanted to make this for my Sicilian hubby who had a stoke and use to do all the cooking,, now I cook and wanted to surpiZe his with this beautiful tiramisu charlotte.

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