Last weekend we had a family barbecue and I decided to do my share by making dessert. However I couldn't really make up my mind about whether to go for some classic English Eton Mess or some Italian tiramisu, so I came up with this recipe which simply combines the two dessert classics. It's the perfect treat for summer days - the strawberries make it wonderfully fruity and less heavy than the classic version.
If prepared for children just omit the kirsch or cherry brandy and the kids will love it!
Vegetarians can substitute the gelatine by agar or any other vegetarian gelatinous substance; just make sure the product is equal to 4 leaves of gelatine or about 8 grams.
This recipe will serve about 8 people and I used a 25cm x 25cm (about 10''x 10'') square baking dish.
You will need:
- 80ml (about 3.5 fl oz.) cherry juice
- 2 tbsp kirsch or cherry brandy
- about 10 Italian ladyfingers
- 500g (18 oz.) strawberries
- 150g (3/4 cup) sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 leaves of gelatine
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
- 1 tbsp lavender sugar (optional)
- 100ml (about 3 fl oz.) whipping cream
- 500g (18 oz.) mascarpone
- 50g (1.8 oz) meringues
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Pour the cherry juice and the kirsch or cherry brandy into the baking dish and add the ladyfingers so as to form one densely packed layer. Make sure the whole bottom is covered and there is no extra liquid the ladyfingers cannot fully absorb. Slice 4 or 5 strawberries very thinly and add the slices in one thin layer on top of the soaked ladyfingers (see picture).
2. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine, then dissolve the leaves in a small pot over medium heat, stirring constantly. Blend the remaining strawberries and add to the dissolved gelatine in several batches. Stir well to prevent lumps. Add the lemon juice, sugar (depending on the strawberries' sweetness you might want to adjust the amount of sugar to your taste), vanilla and lavender sugar (optional) and mix well. Let cool for about 20 minutes until the mixture starts to set.
In a small bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. In a seperate larger bowl whip the mascarpone until fluffy, add the whipped cream and about 10 crumbled meringues. Add the strawberry mixture to the mascarpone and stirr well. Pour over the ladyfingers and smooth down the surface. Decorate with about 25 meringues and sift the cocoa powder on top of your tiramisu.