Dessert,  Valentine's Day

Pick Me Up…Chocolate Raspberry Tiramisu

There are many, many recipes for tiramisu and much written on the history behind this Italian dessert.  It’s definitely one of my favorites; I guess I’m a gal that loves the creamy desserts; tipsy in alcohol, rich in flavor and softly sweetened.  I almost always have the basics for pulling together a tiramisu on hand such as, ladyfingers, mascarpone, whipping cream and an assortment of liquors.  From there it’s whatever your heart desires.  And this time, my heart was tugging at me for chocolate and raspberries.

While I’ve heard of several stories on its origin, my favorite by far is that this dessert with its traditional ingredients including espresso, ladyfingers (sugar) and a cordial was offered to customers at certain bordellos as a “pick me up” to enjoy after so they could go on with their day.  Now whether this tale is true or not doesn’t really matter to me; I enjoy the thought of the pleasure received in a bite of tiramisu.  And who wouldn’t take pleasure in slipping into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a spoonful of this!

Tiramisu is basically a no bake layered dessert.  A few steps can be prepared ahead then layered and refrigerated overnight.  Because this is not baked or any of the layers cooked, the alcohol is definitely prominent and not a dessert for the children.  I like to think of this (as I do its origin) as an adult only dessert.  Perfectly fitted for lovers on Valentine’s Eve.

Chocolate Raspberry Tiramisu

Adapted from Epicurious

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

1 pound mascarpone cheese softened

8 ounces dark chocolate or milk chocolate

2 cups seedless raspberry jam

4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange liquor
1/2 cup Chambord

36-40 lady fingers
2 cups fresh raspberries
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Shaves of white chocolate, optional

Begin to prepare the layers.  In a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Add in the mascarpone and mix until blended, set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, stir the chocolate into the cream/mascarpone bowl.

In another bowl, mix the raspberry jam with the Grand Marnier, set aside.  Pour the Chambord in a shallow pan.

Using a 10 x 10 pan or 13 x 9 pan or individual serving pieces, layer the bottom of the pan with the ladyfingers, briefly dipping them into the Chambord.  Do not allow them to get soggy, just lightly dipped.  Spread half of the jam over the lady fingers.  Spread the chocolate mascarpone over the jam mixture and repeat the layers finishing with the chocolate mascarpone.  Top with fresh raspberries and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.   Dust with confectioner’s sugar and white chocolate shavings (optional) when serving.   Makes about 8-10 servings.

February is #chocolatelove month! Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of Februrary 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #chocolatelove event! The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove :).

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I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.

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