For the past week or so I have taken on the challenge of creating a menu from beginning to end... from appetizer to dessert... from my "bucket list". We all have a bucket list of recipes we want to try from magazines, cookbooks, our blogging friends or wherever you find your inspiration takes you. We started off with an hors d'oeuvres that made our tastebuds sing with citrus notes...Crab Cake Sliders with Lemon Remoulade. Following that was the piece de resistance, a classic Roast Chicken with Thyme Gravy. By chance the recipe chosen for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club fit right in with my menu with a nutty, almost smoky flavoured Wild Rice Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries. We then had two side dishes...one a pumped up version of potatoes for the gravy with Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes and a Mock Spinach Souffle.
Now you know a menu for friends and family would not be complete without dessert so I have chosen tiramisù for an outstanding conclusion to the first of many "bucket meals". While the conventional version of tiramisù calls for espresso-soaked savoiardi, I've found that other flavours can be incorporated into the dessert with great success. Do you remember my Raspberry Tiramisù for a previous challenge? Here, the brightness of fresh lemons and limoncello liqueur lace the cream and soaking syrup to make for a tiramisù that is refreshing and irresistible. This has been on my "bucket list" since we received a generous gift of some homemade limoncello from Sandi of Seattle Pastry Girl back in October when Seattle area bloggers got together at Poppy.
Though Treviso is recognized as the birthplace of tiramisù, the precise origins of this phenomenally popular dessert are shrouded in mystery. One of the delights of making tiramisù is its versatility. This recipe makes a family-style dessert in a large dish, but you can easily compose single servings in dessert glasses, wine goblets, or even elegant teacups for a more impressive presentation. It has a chill time of at least 6 hours so think ahead. This dessert would even benefit more from standing overnight. Lemon is "my chocolate" so this refreshing version of this classic dessert appeals to me in more ways than one. Bring a ray of lemony sunshine to your holiday menu!!Sprinkle it with toasted almonds and a splash of gold dust.
What's on your bucket list?
4 ounces water
4 ounces limoncello
4 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice ( grind remaining zest from lemons)
8 ounces sugar
3 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces limoncello
1 lb mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon sugar for egg whites
zest of 2 lemons
18 crisp Italian ladyfingers ( as many as needed)
To make syrup combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from flame and allow to cool down.
To make and assemble tiramisù beat together egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of sugar and 4 oz limoncello in a large bowl over a bain marie (pot of boiling water) to make a zabaglione until thick and foamy, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to overheat or the eggs will cook and make the mixture lumpy.
Let this mixture cool and then fold in mascarpone cheese and lemon zest to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
In a clean separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat egg whites while adding remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar slowly. Beat whites to a stiff peak.
Then fold egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Do not over mix. Fold in just until combined.
Soak ladyfingers in the limoncello syrup mixture, soaking it about 2-4 seconds, (depending on what type you have. Do not over soak or your tiramisù will be soggy) and transfer to an 8-inch glass baking dish (2-quart capacity). Repeat until one full layer of ladyfingers are arranged in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly.
Spread a quarter of an inch of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Top with toasted almonds.
Chill tiramisu, covered.
Serves 6 -8