Limoncello Tiramisu


If you want to treat your valentine to something unforgettable this Sunday try making this tangy, citrusy twist on an old-time favorite. Tiramisu seems so elegant and sophisticated that we hardly ever think to MAKE it. But it’s crazy easy with the help of a few off-the-shelf items such as packaged ladyfingers and pre-made whipped cream. And who doesn’t like Limoncello?

Limoncello Tiramisu

2 pkgs (14 oz/) lady fingers, about 40
1 lb Mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups whipped cream
4 large egg yolks
4 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Limoncello liqueur
Zest from 2 lemons
Juice from 2  lemons
4 tbsp honey
Lemons slices for garnish

Many of the ingredients in this recipe can be made from scratch. Homemade ladyfingers for instance. I have never made them and in fact this is the first time I’ve ever used them in a recipe. You can also make the whipped cream, which I would recommend if you have the time. In fact, you can even make your own Limoncello! My son-in-law, Tim, brought back a Limoncello recipe for me from Italy in the form of a dish towel. The dish towel has been well used, the recipe is in my future…

Separate the 4 eggs. Place the yolks in a saucepan and reserve the whites for future use such as a meringue. Add the 4 tablespoons of sugar to the yolks and beat over very low heat on the stove. Many old-school Italian recipes do not require that you heat the yolks through. But these days people are very cautious about food bacteria and eggs are not to be eaten raw. Beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer, egg beater, whip, or emulsifier over low heat until mixture is just warmed through. Do not let it cook.

Off the heat, add the Mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract and half of the lemon zest. Whip into the egg mixture until smooth. Next, fold in the whipped cream (I cheated and used Cool Whip. But it works well!) until well blended. Set in a cool place. On a sailboat in February in Annapolis, that means the cockpit.

Next start building the cake. Place a 9″ springform ring on a large round serving plate. Pour one cup of Limoncello plus the lemon juice into a shallow bowl and mix together. Begin dipping the ladyfingers into the Limoncello. Just roll them once for a second or two and place them in one layer within the springform pan. Do  not over soak them in the Limonchello. Break any apart to fit into the mold.

Once the bottom layer is filled, drizzle with honey.

Spread half of the whipped mascarpone filling on top of the ladyfingers.

Repeat with the remaining half of the lady fingers and again, drizzle with honey.

Spread the remaining Mascarpone cheese sauce on top and sprinkle with lemon zest. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight. I’m placing it in the freezer so it will chill quickly, but chilling outside in the cold winter or in your icebox will do as well.

Garnish with lemon slices, flowers…whatever sets your romantic Valentine mood. And keep in mind that this has a fair amount of uncooked BOOZE in it so keep away from kids and best served with some hot Italian Espresso!

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