From Scratch: Reimagine tiramisu with fresh strawberries


Thanks to the Olive Garden, tiramisu has become a household word.

Back in 1993 when the movie "Sleepless in Seattle" premiered, the fancy dessert name had more titillating overtones as people were unfamiliar with it. When widower Tom Hanks, new to the dating scene, asks his friend Rob Reiner, "What is tiramisu?" Reiner responds knowingly, "You'll find out." Even before the movie, tiramisu had a racy back story. In Italian it means "pick me up," and there were rumors that "ladies of the evening" partook to keep up their energy.

Classic tiramisu is usually made from eggs, mascarpone, ladyfingers, coffee, liquor and chocolate. However, there is nothing written in stone saying that it has to be made this way.

With strawberry season in full swing in York County, strawberry tiramisu is a good way to showcase their sweetness.

Because it is a no-cook dessert, it comes together in a snap. The only caveat is that it should be made the night before so the ladyfingers have time to soften.

The following recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, makes a large tiramisu, perfect for a family picnic or large gathering. All of the ingredients can be found in local supermarkets. Pricerite has a very good price on the mascarpone.

Miniature bottles of orange liqueur are available if you don't want to invest in a full-size bottle. If you want to omit it entirely, double the orange juice.

Prepare the following to begin:

Strawberry Tiramisu

1 1/4 cups strawberry jam or preserves

1/3 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur

1/3 cup orange juice

1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 cup chilled whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 30 crisp ladyfingers

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, divided

Whisk the preserves, Cointreau and orange juice in a 2-cup measuring cup.

Place the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and mix until softened.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in another large bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone.

Hull and slice half of the strawberries.

Spread 1/2 cup of the preserve mixture over the bottom of a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Arrange enough ladyfingers over the strawberry mixture to cover the bottom of the dish.

Spoon half of the remaining preserve mixture over the ladyfingers, and then spread half of the mascarpone mixture. Arrange half of the sliced strawberries over the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, preserve mixture and mascarpone mixture.

Cover with plastic and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, slice the remaining strawberries and arrange over the tiramisu.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.