8.04.2011

lemons + italy

I miss Italy. I miss the crowded streets of Rome, the little trattorias with simple, homy meals that warm the soul, the out of line Italian men chanting "Bella bella" as I walk by, the gelateria I lived above with the most amazing and tart grapefruit gelato, I miss my morning cappuccino and corneto stuffed with Nutella - I miss Italy! 


A lot of the trattorias in Italia are small, family owned restaurants. Where the waiters tell you what you're going to eat and how much you're going to love it. They also usually bring out bites of food that you have to try, and trust them, YOU HAVE TO TRY! I love that they treat you like family when you're in their restaurant. No one leaves hungry or thirsty, its just the Italian way. 


We quickly learned that when a restaurant owner brings you a champagne flute filled to the brim with his homemade limoncello, you must drink it. I love lemon so this was never too much of a problem for me. In Italy, lemons are used a lot. Especially in Sorrento where they're famous for their Limoncello and of course, their lemons. When I was there I picked up a bottle for me and a bottle for my mom, so excited to bring a bit of Italy back with me to the states! Awhile later I find that I have this big ole bottle of Limoncello and I've never even opened it! What a crime! 


I decided to put that bottle to work in a summer version of my tiraMOsu! Being one of my favorite desserts, it's only natural to have a fresh seasonal version! It's creamy and rich but bursting with the lightness of tart lemon and luscious raspberries. Unlike my tiraMOsu, this version is best served in 1-2 days instead of 4-6 days. The fresh berries put a shorter timeline on it.


raspberry + limoncello tiraMOsu 
yields 10 - 12 generous servings 
ingredients:


¼ c. limoncello
¼ c. simple syrup
2 lemons (juice + zest)

2 - 8 oz containers of mascarpone @ room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. heavy whipping cream
8 egg yolks*
½ c. granulated sugar
1 T. limoncello

2 pints raspberries
2 boxes (~60) dry biscuit lady fingers*


In a shallow dish, combine limoncello, simple syrup**, and juice from 2 lemons. Set aside.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with sugar on high until it becomes light and forms ribbons. Add 1 T. limoncello, zest of 2 lemons, softened mascarpone and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to turn it to butter though! Gently fold half of the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture. Then add remaining whipping cream mixture, stir just until incorporated.

You're all set to assemble! For this recipe I made it in a round souffle pan but you can use whatever dish you prefer. Individual glasses are really pretty too! Start by quickly dipping 1 ladyfinger in the limoncello mixture. This is the key to the perfect tiramisu... make sure you don't dip the cookies for too long, they'll get soggy. Literally drop the cookie in, flip it real quick and pull it out. Place them in a single layer in the baking dish. Place layer of cream mixture*** on top and evenly spread. Sprinkle some raspberries on top. Add another layer of dipped ladyfingers and then another layer of cream and then raspberries. For my dish I did 4 layers. Just make sure you save enough raspberries for the top of your dish! I garnished with raspberries and a slice of lemon!

* make sure you get the hard cookies, not the soft ladyfingers found in the freezer or refrigerator sections. They should have the sugar crust on one side and snap when broken in half.

** simple syrup is really easy to make. Just use equal parts granulated sugar to water and boil until the water is dissolved. It's great in iced coffee and tea! 
*** note i don't cook my zabaione (the cream, egg, marscapone mixture). you should use the freshest eggs possible to avoid getting sick.

improv style:
this dish is a prime example of an improv recipe... i took a traditional chocolate/espresso tiramisu and made it into a summer dessert by replacing espresso with limoncello and chocolate with raspberries. you could use a different flavored liquor, like chamboard (raspberry flavor) or orange liquor. You can definitely change the berries up, too! strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, marionberries (you get the idea)... even a combo of any of them would be fantastic! You could even do each berry on a different layer - it would be so pretty in a glass dish to see the different colors layered! Also, if you want to make this dish outside of berry season, you can definitely use frozen berries. Just make sure you thaw them out before! Peaches, nectarines, or apricots would be great in this dish as well.


1 comment:

  1. I miss Italy. I miss the crowded streets of Rome, the little trattorias with simple, homy meals that warm the soul, the out of line Italian men chanting "Bella bella" as I walk by, the gelateria I lived above with the most amazing and tart grapefruit gelato, I miss my morning cappuccino and corneto stuffed with Nutella - I miss Italy! http://sewingmachinejudge.com/best-embroidery-machine-tips-using-embroidery-machine-reviews-and-suggestions-to-get-started/

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