I’m currently traveling through Ireland (eating all the breads and drinking all the malted beverages, obvi), but right before I left home, the garden was overflowing with berries. All my gooseberries, raspberries, and black, red, and white currants got ripe at exactly the same time this year, and I knew that before I hit the road I had to put them to use in something sweet and cool and summery. So, I decided to make a berry version of one of my favorite warm-weather desserts of all time, tiramisu. I have a regular version of tiramisu in the recipe archives with ladyfinger cookies, but I wasn’t able to find ladyfingers at any local markets around here this time around, so I used nilla wafer cookies instead and it came out just as tasty!
Jeremy and I also made a little video for my youtube channel to go along with this recipe, which teaches you how to ribbon egg yolks 😀 It’s a fun little video series I’m starting, where I teach you a new simple cooking technique in 2 minutes or less! I’m hoping to get 1 new video a month up (although this number may increase depending on timing), so if there’s any kitchen trick or tip you’d love to see explained, feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂 I’m taking any and all inquiries! So, if you’re wondering how ribboning egg yolks plays into this, to make tiramisu you basically ribbon together egg yolks and sugar, then cook them together with marsala wine over the top of a double boiler until they’re thick and silky. Then you mix this mixture with mascarpone, and then fold in whipped cream, and you get the lightest, creamiest, silkiest spreadable custard on the planet. Then you dip a dry cookie in espresso and create a cookie layer in a pan, then a layer of the mascarpone mixture, and alternate…
…and voila! Standard tiramisu. But for this one, I added in some blackberry liqueur to the mascarpone mixture and the espresso mixture, and also created a little mixed berry compote that I layered in along with fresh cherries. You could use any sort of berry liqueur, but I do love the tannic flavors of blackberry and/or black currant liqueurs so I’d recommend those more than others. And as for the berries, you can really go hog wild with whatever berries are in season near you. This recipe is very flexible and will taste good pretty much indiscriminately as long as the berries you use are ripe. I hope you all enjoy the recipe and are having a lovely summer so far!!
- 1 cups mixed berries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon blackberry or black currant liqueur
Berry Nilla Wafer Tiramisu
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons blackberry or black currant liqueur
- 66 Nilla Wafers (about 1, 11 ounce, package
- 8 ounces cherries (pitted, stemmed and halved)
- 1/4 cup mixed berries (optional garnish)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon blackberry or black currant liqueur
- 16 ounces mascarpone (room temperature)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the berry compote, stir together the berries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. WHen the mixture starts sizzling and comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the berries have broken apart and disintegrated slightly and the mixture has thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the balsamic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of the blackberry liqueur, and allow to cool to room temperature.
Berry Nilla Wafer Tiramisu
For the berry nilla wafer tiramisu, stir together the boiling water, espresso powder, and sugar in a large heat-safe bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool, then stir in 2 tablespoons of the blackberry liqueur and set aside.
For the mascarpone cream, ribbon together the egg yolks and the sugar. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler and whisk in the Marsala. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick, silky, and roughly doubled in volume, about 6 minutes, whisking as quickly as you can.
Remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone and salt until the mascarpone completely melts into the the mixture and is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and remaining teaspoon berry liqueur until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 6 minutes, keeping a close eye so that you don’t over-beat it.
Fold the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream until smooth.
To assemble, dip a nilla wafer into the espresso mixture and place it on the bottom of pie dish about 10 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches deep. Repeat, arranging the wafers to create a single even layer of dipped wafers. Place 1/3 of the pitted cherries in any empty spaces left between the wafers.
To assemble the tiramisu, spread one third of the mascarpone mixture over the cookies, then dollop on third of the berry compote over the mascarpone mixture and spread it out a bit with a spatula. Repeat this process twice more so that you have three layers of dipped nilla wafers, cherries, berry compote and mascarpone. Cover the tiramisu and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours to allow it to set.
Remove the tiramisu from the refrigerator and top with fresh berries before serving. Serve chilled and refrigerate any leftovers.