Are you looking for a dessert idea for the holidays? how about tiramisu with pears, a wine syrup and lots of spices for a delightful seasonal treat?
Of all the recipes which I have painstakingly collected in my cookbook, this is has been a favorite at Alla Madonna del Piatto cooking classes. For this reason, I have decided to publish it it here as a special Christmas gift for those of you who don’t have my book. I hope you will enjoy my creation during the upcoming holidays!
A tiramisu with fruit (see here and here) is a wonderful opportunity to create a seasonal dessert. This autumnal version is made with pears poached in spiced wine which is a traditional rustic recipe very popular in the North of Italy especially in Piemonte.
I have adapted the Piemontese recipe cooking the pears in our local Sagrantino, a robust red made in the area of Montefalco. The resulting syrup has lovely fruity undertones and makes a fabulous sauce to dip the ladyfingers. For the mascarpone cream I have used Vinsanto, an Umbrian dessert wine made with partially dried grapes.
You can obviously use other wine combinations. Each wine will impart a different character to the tiramisu.
16 lady fingers
250 gr (½ lb) mascarpone
500 gr (4 cups) chilled whipping cream
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoon Vinsanto or other white dry dessert wine
120 gr (1/2 cup) sugar
3 cooking pears
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
1/2 lt (2 cups) red wine or dessert wine
Peel and core and half the pears, so they will absorb the flavors of the spiced wine.
Fit them tightly in a non-reactive saucepan and cover with the red wine. Add 1/4 cup sugar, lemon rind and spices and poach with the lid on until just tender.
Remove the pears from the liquid and cut into 1 cm (½) inch) dice. Add the lemon juice to the syrup and reserve.
Beat egg yolks and sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or an electric mixer until smooth and fluid. Ideally the mixture should reach 70° C (160 °F).
Add 3 tablespoon dessert wine and whisk thoroughly for another minute or so. Remove bowl from heat and let it cool.
You can also microwave the egg, wine and sugar mixture for 20-30 seconds until set and steaming. The purpose of this step is to pasteurize the eggs. If using the microwave make sure to watch the eggs carefully to prevent them from scrambling.
Add the custard to the mascarpone until just combined.
Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it holds soft peaks. Fold it gently into the mascarpone mixture.
Line the bottom of a 22×30 cm (8.5 x 12 inch) rectangular serving dish with the ladyfingers in a single layer, making compact rows. Spread the diced pears on top and drizzle the red wine syrup evenly so that the cookies will be soft but not soggy.
Dollop the the mascarpone cream over the tiramisu.
Cover the pan and chill for at least two hours and up to 1 day. Dust with cinnamon, brown sugar or a few drops of the reduced wine syrup before serving.