This is one of my favorite desserts. I haven’t made it in quite a while, because I have a minor child and A) don’t want to share with him, and B) don’t want to eat the whole thing myself. So when Easter came, and I knew people were coming over, it was a perfect opportunity.
We have a wonderful Persian bakery, Flor De Cafe, in Glendale, and that was where I was finally able to find real ladyfingers. Real ladyfingers are crisp and readily absorb liquids. The stuff at the supermarket that comes out in Strawberry season is spongy and will not absorb the liquids correctly for this classic dessert. Ergo, another reason I have made this in a long time.
I was able to find Mascarpone, a wonderful Italian cheese with a texture reminiscent of cream cheese. Mascarpone is slightly sweet and has a silky texture. It is made from cream and some kind of citric acid. It’s expensive, another reason I don’t make this dessert very often. Well, I found some at my local Armenian store, from the wonderful folks at Sadaf, and it was great. As I was writing this, I came across a method for making homemade Mascarpone, so I will be doing that from now on.
We have a wonderful Farmer’s Market in Glendale on Thursdays, and I was able to get some big, lovely, organic strawberries form my Tiramisu. It made it very special.
- 1 box strawberries
- 2 boxes Lady Fingers
- 5 cups Strong coffee
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Brandy
- 1 cup Mascarpone
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup Powdered sugar
- Hull strawberries and slice lengthwise into relatively even slices, about 3 slices per berry.
- Mix coffee, sugar, and brandy together. Remove about half and combine with mascarpone.
- Line a loaf pan with wax paper, making sure the paper goes above the edges of the pan. Line the lined pan with the sliced berries.
- Dip a ladyfinger in the coffee mixture and put it in the pan, covering some berries. Continue dipping and placing until you have a layer of fingers. Put a layer of cheese coffee mixture over the fingers. Layer with chocolate and powdered sugar. Continue layering until you have reached the top of the pan. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Put some strips of wax paper on a nice platter which can be removed later. Carefully unmold the cake from the pan onto the wax paper strips. You may frost the sides with whipped cream if desired.
When preparing the strawberries, if you have to wash them, make sure they are quite dry before slicing them. Only wash as many strawberries as you think you will need, and leave the rest alone. When you wash strawberries they MUST be eaten almost immediately because they begin to deteriorate.
You can frost the sides of the cake with whipped cream if desired. You can also use shaved chocolate instead of the unsweetened cocoa and powdered sugar.