No Bake Strawberry Tiramisu
Some variations call for making a thin whisked sponge cut into two layers to fit the serving bowl. Additionally the classic recipe calls for whisked raw eggs to enrich the Mascarpone cheese layer. Obviously this is not very acceptable to most people.
I had noticed in the stores, small custard cup size plastic cups of Tiramisu at a disgraceful price. So I decided to take my Mascarpone filling and go from there.
Mascarpone is a high fat, double cream cheese that is slightly sweet, and rich in both taste and texture. It is highly perishable so it is rare to find imported. It needs to be treated carefully since it is not as stable as Philadelphia.
The amount of strawberry liqueur is to your taste. You could substitute orange liqueur, amaretto almond liqueur, rum or brandy or even champagne according to your wish. Make this with sweet strawberries, if they are not ripened enough the dessert doesn't have enough flavor.
Main Ingredient - about 8-9 generous portions
Method1. Several hours in advance or even day before, mix strawberries, ¼ c sugar and 2 tbsp liqueur, cover and refrigerate. This allows juices to form and makes strawberries sweeter.
2. Melt sugar in water in small saucepan or microwave and add 2 tbsp strawberry liqueur as well as juices from strawberries, once they've had a chance to produce juices.
3. In a 6 cup mixing bowl, mix 1 c cream, sugar and 2-4 tbsp liqueur until stiff. Empty Mascarpone cheese into small bowl, add ¼ c cream and gently mix together to soften Mascarpone cheese. Add Mascarpone mix to cream mix and gently whisk until blended. Take care, Mascarpone can turn to butter if you whip too long. Taste and add more sugar or strawberry liqueur to taste. You don't want tasteless cream cheese.
4. Pour about ½ cup of strawberry syrup into bottom of 8" x 8" non reactive brownie pan (I use glass).
5. Arrange soft ladyfingers to cover base of dish (3 rows of 6 fingers). You will have to overlap fingers to get them to fit.
6. Drizzle about about ½ cup of strawberry syrup over ladyfingers.
7. Top with half of cheese mix and half of strawberries.
8. Arrange another layer of ladyfingers on top and soak with more of the syrup. You will have ladyfingers left over. Add second half of strawberries.
9. Top with rest of cheese mix and sprinkle with crushed Amaretti cookies. The 8" x 8" pan will be full to the top.
10. Chill for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to mellow.
Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.