Life is sweet in Umbria right now. Spring is here in all its over-the-top beauty. There are flowers everywhere, I can practically see the plants growing. In fact, it feels almost like summer, warm, bright and full of promise. We are busy at the moment. Planning an Olive Harvest celebration for next autumn. Planting rosemary bushes outside the new vacation rental which is almost ready (more news soon). Our B&B guests have returned to populate our house with laughter and stories. They often spend long evenings on the terrace around glasses of wine, gazing at the views until the stars start twinkling. Poppies have made their arrivals and so have the strawberries. I want to be like Google, taking naps in the sun, but I must run, there’s so much to do!
- approx 30 Italian lady fingers
- brown sugar for dusting
- a pan or plate that can hold the cookies in two layers
for the mascarpone custard
- 3 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoon /75 gr. sugar
- 1 tab dessert wine like Vinsanot, dry Marsala or moscato
- 375 gr / 10 oz mascarpone
- 1 and 1/2 cup/ 375 gr. chilled heavy cream (whipping cream)
for the berries
- 1 cup dessert wine
- 600-700 gr (24 oz) mixed berries of your choice. Fresh is best, but a couple of bags of good quality, organic, frozen berries are a life saver if one is short of time or it’s not the right time of the season.
Berries: Prepare the berries up to 1 day before you need them. Place them in a glass or porcelain bowl, add 3-4 tablespoon sugar and 1 cup sweet wine. Let it macerate a minimum of two hours so they release their lovely violet juice which you will need to soak the cookies (see below). Make the tiramisu at least 4 hours before serving and up to one day ahead. I make tiramisu with a zabaglione instead of raw eggs, so it’s safe to keep it refrigerated for a little longer if needed. Custard: Cream egg yolks and sugar in a metal bowl then set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Keep beating using a whisk or an electric mixer until very warm to the touch but not quite boiling. Ideally the mixture should reach 70° C/ 160 °F. Add 1 tablespoon Marsala and whisk thoroughly for another minute or so. Remove bowl from heat, place it in an ice bath and let it cool. Add the mascarpone and whisk until smooth. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Fold it gently into the mascarpone mixture. Assemble tiramisu: Line the bottom of a pan or serving dish with half of the ladyfingers in a single layer, making compact rows. Spread 1/2 of the berries on top with about half of their juices. Make sure to drizzle the juice evenly over the cookies so they will be soft but not soggy. Cover with 1/2 of the mascarpone custard. Repeat with one additional layer of cookies, berries, juice and mascarpone custard. Cover the pan with clingfilm and chill for at least two hours and up to 1 day. Dust with brown sugar before serving. Serves 12