I don’t know how a fruit can be so exotic and still grow here, not too far from my magical mountain. I adore peaches and nectarines in every color and shape, but I have a soft spot for the slightly spiced bouquet of velvety white peaches. I generallly don’t feel the need to make a peach dessert, if they are ripe, they don’t need to be “improved”. However, I have recently grown fond of fruit based tiramisu, so much that I published 2 recipes in my cookbook. This one – which I have created for guests from Sri Lanka and Cyprus – is quite delicate and subtly aromatic, with the rose water complementing the heady aroma of the peaches.
For the base:
- approx 20 Italian lady fingers (or make your own)
- cinnamon, cardamom or brown sugar for dusting
- a pan or plate that can hold the cookies in 1 layer
For the mascarpone custard:
- 2 egg yolks
- 50 g (4 tablespoon) sugar
- 3 tablespoon dessert wine like Vinsanto or Moscato
- 250 gr (9 oz) mascarpone
- 500 ml (1 pint) chilled whipping cream
For the fruit:
- 1 cup dessert wine
- 3 juicy white peaches
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon orange liquer or limoncello
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon rose-water or vanilla extract
Prepare the peaches at least 2 hours and up to 1 day before you need them. Peel, dice in small pieces and place them in a glass or porcelain bowl, add honey, liqueur, lemon juice, rose-water and the dessert wine. Cover, refrigerate and let them marinade until they release their lovely pink 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 the tiramisu custard with a zabaglione instead of raw eggs, so it’s safe to keep it refrigerated for a little longer if needed.
To make the custard:
For the zabaglione, 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 the dessert wine and whisk thoroughly for another minute or so. Remove the bowl from heat, place it in an ice bath and let it cool completely.
Alternatively, mix all zabaglione ingredients until pale and foamy, microwave on high for 30 sec. Whisk again and microwave again for 30 sec. then transfer in a bowl full of ice to stop it from scrambling.
Add the mascarpone to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Fold it gently into the mascarpone mixture.
To assemble tiramisu:
Line the bottom of a pan or serving dish with the ladyfingers in a single layer, making compact rows. Spread the marinated peaches on top then drizzle the juice evenly over the cookies so they will be soft but not soggy. Cover the mascarpone custard. Cover the pan with clingfilm and chill for at least two hours and up to 1 day.
Dust with ground cinnamon, cardamom or brown sugar before serving. Serves 8-10