Friday, April 22, 2011

Quick and Easy Strawberry Tiramisu

A great use of local, fresh strawberries that will
 soon be available for picking at our local farms.

With the Spring holiday and graduation season in full gear and the invitations for house parties increasing, many of us will be accepting invitations with this common closing comment: I'll bring dessert. 

If you don't bake very often you may be tempted (as I often am) to go for a store-bought solution. But you must agree, while store purchased goodies are certainly appreciated, there is something truly special and personal about home made creations. They are not just gifts of food, but of a person's time, and are as fun to give as to receive.

This Strawberry Tiramisu recipe is easy and pretty enough to make even a novice like me look like a pro. If you make this in a rectangular baking dish, we recommend presenting this in a slightly larger flat basket lined with colorful kale and garnished with long stemmed strawberries. For a more personal touch, make your own version of strawberry jam or compote.
(click "read more" for recipe and to continue reading this post)

2 cups strawberry preserves*
1/2 cup plus 4 Tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 pound mascarpone cheese (at room temperature)
1 1/3 cups chilled heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 (approximately) crisp  ladyfingers (or Savoiardi)
2 pounds fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
In a sauce pan, stir strawberry preserves over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Off the heat, add 1/2 cup Cointreau and orange juice and whisk to incorporate. Set aside. Place mascarpone cheese and 2 Tablespoons Cointreau in large bowl; fold just to blend and set aside. In electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, vanilla and remaining 2 Tablespoons Cointreau to soft peaks. Stir 1/4 of whipped cream mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whipped cream.
Spread 3/4 cup preserve mixture over bottom of 3 quart oblong serving dish or 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Arrange enough ladyfingers over preserve mixture to cover bottom of dish. Spoon 3/4 cup preserve mixture over ladyfingers then spread 2 1/2 cup mascarpone mixture over. Arrange sliced strawberries over mascarpone mixture. Repeat layering with remaining ladyfingers, preserve mixture and mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Makes 8 large servings
Adapted by oldest sister Sharon** from Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe in Bon Appetit

*We noticed that the sugar content of the jam has a direct effect on the sweetness of the tiramisu, so consider this when choosing products. To cut sugar, reduce the amount of jam and mix in blended fresh strawberries.

**For the record: Oldest sister Sharon and mom are the bakers in the family. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this tiramisu, or ideas for easy desserts for the baking challenged among us

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