I am often so busy preparing main dishes and side dishes for holiday dinners that dessert somtimes gets short shrift. So I wanted to create a dish that could be prepared up to a day ahead. And, in fact, this tiramisu is better if the flavors are allowed to develop overnight. This is not a totally traditional tiramisu (no raw eggs or espresso). Instead of using raw eggs for the filling, I have opted for a zabaglione-type custard, in which the egg yolks and sugar are gently cooked, The addition of cranberries gives this tiramisu a light fruity flavor, that is quite nice after a heavy holiday meal. One could substitute lovely green pistachios for hazelnuts, especially for a Christmas desert. Alas, though, with such a generous amount of brandy, this is not really a kid-friendly dessert. I strongly recommend seeking out savoiardi Italian cookies from a gourmet or Italian specialty store. The ladyfinger cookies they sell in many American grocery stores are too soft to create the classic tiramisu texture. —cookinginvictoria
6-8 (or more if doubled)
fresh or frozen cranberries (1 package)
2 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups
grated orange zest
plus 1 tablespoon brandy, divided
marscapone cheese at room temperature
about 10 ounces
savoiardi (ladyfinger) cookies
hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed and chopped
Make spiced cranberries: In a medium large saucepan, add cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange zest. Simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for about twenty minutes, until cranberries cook down and become soft and cooking liquid is syrupy. Remove from heat. Split vanilla bean, remove seeds, and add seeds and bean to pan. Add 1/4 cup brandy. Stir, cover, and let steep for about 20 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
Make simple syrup: In small saucepan, add 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brandy. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cook over medium high heat until syrup boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat.
Make heavy cream filling: In mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until cream holds soft peaks. In another bowl, beat marscapone cheese with whisk until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Make zabaglione filling: In double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, add yolks and 1 cup sugar. Using a hand mixer or whisk, whisk until the mixture thickens and triples in volumes. It will have the consistency of a very thick custard and will be a lovely golden color, You may see some small bubbles frothing on the surface, but do not boil. Otherwise you will have scrambled eggs! Take zabaglione off heat and add to marscapone cheese mixture. Whisk until smooth, then add 1/4 amount of whipped cream to bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold to incorporate. Fold in remaining whipped cream to marscapone cheese, then fold in final tablespoon brandy.
Putting it all together: Dip each cookie in simple syrup mixture, coating for about 4 seconds on each side. Line cookies on bottom of serving dish (a glass or decorative dish looks stunning) with sides at least 2 inches high. Spread half of the cranberries over cookies, covering them completely. Add half of zabaglione mixture on top of cranberries, speading to edges of pan. Top with half of the chopped hazelnuts. Make another layer of dipped cookies, cranberries, ending with zabaglione layer and hazelnuts. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to make more layers of cookies, cranberries, and zabaglione.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove tiramisu 30 minutes before serving. Serve with hot espresso or a snifter of brandy.
In 2009, after living more than twenty years in NYC, my husband, young daughter and I packed up our lives and embarked on a grand adventure, moving to Victoria, B.C. There are many things that we miss about New York (among them ripe, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh ravioli and New York bagels), but, I have to admit, that living in the Pacific Northwest has been pretty amazing food-wise. Now we have a yard with plum and apple trees, a raspberry and strawberry patch and a Concord grape arbor. I have a vegetable and herb garden, so I can grow at least some of our food. And we have an amazing farmer's market a block from our house.
I love cooking (and eating) seasonally and locally. And it's been very rewarding introducing my daughter to cooking and eating, and teaching her where our food comes from.