Make Ahead

Hazelnut Rainwater Madeira Tiramisu

March 15, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 9
Author Notes

I’ve been a tiramisu fan for quite some time, but I can’t say I’ve never met a tiramisu I didn’t like. My main complaint with tiramisu is that it is often overloaded with sugar. I have a sweet tooth (I promise), but sweetness is not the only component of a great dessert. This recipe was part of a challenge that required all of the components to be made from scratch. While that isn't necessary, it does give you a chance to play with the flavors of all or any of these parts. Tiramisu has only a few key ingredients (sugar, cream, coffee, wine), and each of those is as likely as the other to usurp complete control of the dessert if you let it. I love tiramisu’s traditional coffee and marsala flavors but I wanted to veer just a few degrees off. So I coated my ladyfingers with coffee and hazelnut liquor and I flavored the mascarpone with Rainwater Madeira, which if you’ve never tried, is a soft, semi-sweet aperitif that I find complements many kinds of desserts. The natural nuttiness in the Madeira coupled with the lush sweetness of the hazelnut liquor makes for a flavor-balanced pairing. If you wanted to make everything yourself (ladyfingers, mascarpone, etc.. you can look at the much longer version of this recipe on my site.) —NakedBeet

What You'll Need
  • zabaglione
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons cane juice sugar
  • 1/3 cup Rainwater Madeira wine
  • tiramisu, cream and assembly
  • 20-30 lady fingers
  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups hot strong coffee or espresso
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut liquor
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cane juice sugar
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 tablespoon cane juice sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • hazelnuts and chocolate shavings to decorate
  1. Zabaglione: Place a pot with about an inch of water in it (or use a double boiler) on the stove over medium low heat. Place your bowl over your pot and cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly for 8 minutes. Using a rubber spatula and moving the thickness of the mixture from the bottom and sides, you will notice that at the 5 minute mark it will instantly change texture, going from a thin liquid to a much thicker custard that is suddenly slightly smaller in quantity. At 7 minutes you can turn off the heat and stir for a few more strokes. Let this mixture cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
  2. Light whipped cream: Beat the light cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar until foamy and blended. Fold in the light cream into your mascarpone; the mixture should be smooth and light.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cream filling with the chilled zabaglione, blending until just combined.
  4. Mix together the hot espresso with sugar and hazelnut liquor in a wide, shallow dish.
  5. Line an 8?x8? pan with saran wrap, getting the plastic squarely into the corners so your tiramisu can layer evenly. Saran lining makes it easier to take the tiramisu out and cut and serve individual servings. If you don’t care about serving them individually feel free to skip over this step.
  6. Working quickly, dip the ladyfingers one at a time into your warm coffee. Nota bene— The key here is to dip them long enough to get them moistened but not so long as to get them soaked where they start disintegrating. If the coffee is hot or warm, this shouldn’t take long. Depending on the thickness of your ladyfingers, you should start getting a feel for how long you need to soak yours. Soak the bottom layer for 3-4 seconds so that the mascarpone sticks to the fingers, but still take care to avoid disintegrating them. Soak the in-between layers for 1-3 seconds so they can retain a spongy instead of soggy texture in your assembled tiramisu. (If you’ve tasted a soggy tiramisu, you’ll be familiar with the taste of mush and alcohol, which is what we’re trying to avoid here.)
  7. Immediately start placing each ladyfinger side by side in a single row in your pan. You can also break a lady finger into pieces when necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered. Once your fingers are moistened, it will be easier to squeeze in 1 more than might fit if they were placed dry into the bottom layer.
  8. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or frosting knife to spread the filling evenly, all the way to the edges.
  9. Repeat to create 2 more layers, ending with the mascarpone filling. In the 2nd and 3rd layers of ladyfingers, space them out further from one another. When you cut into a square piece, you’ll see lovely diagonal layers of mascarpone. That comes from spacing the fingers out, which also keeps the tiramisu from becoming ladyfinger heavy....unless you like that!
  10. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight. If you assemble your tiramisu in the morning, it will be ready to serve the same evening (just let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving it so the flavors open up.) You can also freeze it to serve much later. I also find that cutting it when it's still slightly frozen produces cleaner cuts. Decorate with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, and hazelnuts.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sagegreen
  • Allison Cay Parker
    Allison Cay Parker
  • betteirene
  • NakedBeet
  • Culinista Annouchka
    Culinista Annouchka

18 Reviews

Sagegreen April 21, 2011
Why not enter this for coffee week? It sounds great!
Allison C. March 19, 2010
Excellent! I love this, love the "Rainwater" and the hazelnut addition--hazelnut of course being also classically Italian. Everything about this looks and sounds lovely.
betteirene March 17, 2010
Naked Beet for the win!

I love the diagonal slashes. It looks like lightning! Just beautiful.
NakedBeet March 17, 2010
Truthfully, I had no idea it was going to come out this way, but when I sliced into it, I did a little jig. I should rename it lightning tiramisu! ; )
NakedBeet March 17, 2010
Thanks everyone!
Culinista A. March 17, 2010
Looks fantastic!! Bravo!
Kelsey B. March 16, 2010
This looks awesome, I love the flavors in it!!
TasteFood March 15, 2010
This sounds amazing. I love the touch of hazelnut with frangelico and the madeira. Great recipe and beautiful photo!
Lizthechef March 15, 2010
Just when I thought I was tired of tiramisu, alongs comes your recipe! Haven't tried it yet, but it "feels" right - thumbs up!
NakedBeet March 15, 2010
Thank you! I hope you like it if you do make it.
WinnieAb March 15, 2010
So glad you entered this...I saw it on your blog and things it's incredible!
WinnieAb March 15, 2010
think not things!
NakedBeet March 15, 2010
Thanks Winnie. I did try to simplify it as much as I could from the original.
chez L. March 15, 2010
very nice!
mrslarkin March 15, 2010
NakedBeet March 15, 2010
danka. ; )
monkeymom March 15, 2010