Summer Berry Tiramisu
This summer berry tiramisu is fun to make and is great for feeding a crowd! My friends and I do a weekly cooking night where we get together and each make part of a meal, usually Italian, usually delicious and always with good wine. We don’t have any hard and fast rules for who makes what each week, it’s mostly based on what we all have growing in our gardens. In my life outside of Italian night, I prefer savory cooking. I don’t make a lot of sweets at home because I have little self-control and know that if left in my house long enough, I will eat the entire dessert, even if it was big enough for a party. But with a weekly Italian night and 5 participants who happily help me eat the entire dessert, it gives me a lot of opportunities to practice making them.
Italian desserts are wonderful and varied and I don’t think it’s possible to get sick of them in their classic forms. However, an unspoken goal of our Italian night group is to try new things and not to repeat dishes too often. This twist on the classic tiramisu came up while I was trying to find a new way to use our bounty of summer berries but would also fit into our Italian theme. I had seen a few variations on berry tiramisu but I wanted to create a version that was light enough for a hot summer night. In this recipe I cook down the berries (making this a great option for frozen berries in the winter) and use that liquid, along with a touch of elderflower liqueur in place of the traditional espresso, to soak the ladyfingers. I also take out the egg yolks, partly out of laziness and partly to lighten it up more, and just mix my softened mascarpone with slightly sweetened whipped cream. The result is a beautiful and satisfying summery dish that comes together without the use of the oven, which is a huge plus when outside temperatures start to climb!
Summer Berry Tiramisu
This recipe isn't very difficult and doesn't require a lot of hands-on time but it does require some advanced planning since it needs a lot of time in the refrigerator. The compote takes 4 hours to thicken up in the fridge but you could certainly shorten that time and have a slightly more liquid compote or feel free to compensate by adding more sugar (this will help thicken it up a little more). Once the tiramisu is assembled, it requires another 2 hours in the fridge to set up. Again, you could shorten the time, just not by too long as this step is where the ladyfingers really soak up the berry juice and all the flavors meld!
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup cherries
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp elderflower liqueur
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 8 oz mascarpone room temperature
- ladyfingers amount will depend on brand but enough to cover a 9"x13" pan twice
Add berries, sugar and water to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries have released a good amount of liquid and about half of the berries have broken down.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in elderflower liqueur. Refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer off, add in powdered sugar and continue to beat a few minutes longer until stiff peaks form.
Fold softened mascarpone into whipped cream. (If the mascarpone isn't very soft, microwave it for 10 seconds and give it a really good stir to soften it before adding it to the whipped cream.
To assemble, layer ladyfingers in the bottom of 9"x13" pan to cover the entire pan (break into pieces if needed to ensure full coverage).
Using a pastry brush, brush the ladyfingers with the juice from the berry compote made earlier. Spread half of the whipped cream/mascarpone mixture over the top of the ladyfingers. Top the whipped cream with about 1 cup of the berry compote (a mix of berries and liquid is fine).
Repeat with a second layer of ladyfingers, brushing with the berry juice, topping with the whipped cream mixture and another cup of compote. Cover and refrigerate for another 2 hours or overnight.
You can garnish with fresh fruit or leave as it is.