I hope you all had a lovely holiday + happy new year. Jeremy and I spent it here in Oregon with my family and copious amounts of baklava, as can be expected at any Greek Christmas gathering. My dad still insists on making it in restaurant volume (30+ years of having a Greek deli will do that to you), so we’ve just now finally finished off the last of them from the refrigerator. As such, I haven’t been motivated to make anything sweet as of late. So I’m waltzing into the new year with an old recipe, one that I’ve been hanging onto for a few months now. I’ve had this elderberry tiramisu in my back pocket since September, and I’m sharing this luxurious treat with you until I climb out of my holiday coma and get myself together enough to create a cozy soup, which seems fitting for all the snow storms on the horizon. Speaking of snowstorms, the roof is on the homestead! Can you even believe it??? I certainly can’t, and the building has been staring me in the face for months now. I know I owe you another homestead update, (it’s on the horizon for this month, I promise!), but I couldn’t wait to share about the roof. Something about an actual roof-over-our-heads just makes it feel real, you know? But enough about the homestead (I have to save the juicy tidbits for the update!), and let’s dive into this little treat, shall we?

Elderberry Tiramisu

Some folks like to start off the new year with something light and bright and healthy, and to them I hold up a quivering spoonful of mascarpone cream and ask “tiramisu?” Because, why not? It’s too cold out and we need to put some meat on our bones for crying out loud. You’ve probably had tiramisu before, but if you’re unfamiliar with the actual components of it, let me fill you in. It all starts with ladyfinger cookies, which are very very dry. But that’s good! Because you dip them in a flavored liquid (traditionally coffee) and then place them in a pan, and they get soft and wonderful, and this is the first layer of the tiramisu. On top of the cookie layer goes the mascarpone cream, which (to no one’s surprise) consists of mascarpone and cream, but also egg yolks and sugar. How could this possibly get better, you might wonder? Well, this is where the elderberries come in.

elderberry picking

Elderberries are a small very tannic berry that grows off of large bushes in bushels (say that 10 times fast). They’re often used in medicinal herb concoctions to help prevent and fight off colds and the like, and it’s true that they are very good for you. But they also have a very nice flavor when prepared with sugar. Similar to other small berries like currants, they’re a bit bitter + tart on their own, but when you cook them with sugar it brings out a deep rich blackberry-esque flavor that’s really unique and wonderful. And the great thing is that you don’t need fresh ones to make this recipe, it works perfectly well with dried elderberries which are easy to get online from a variety of natural food stores at any time of the year, but I really love + recommend Mountain Rose Herbs as a source for them (not sponsored, just a local Oregon company that I really love).

To make this tiramisu, the ladyfinger cookies are dipped in a homemade elderberry concentrate made from dried elderberries, blackberries, water, honey, and vanilla extract. That same elderberry concentrate is also added to the mascarpone cream for even more elderberry goodness. And to top it off, a bit of elderberry concentrate is simmered with a dollop of honey and some cornstarch to make a thicker drizzle that you can put on top for some extra pizzaz and flavor. And like most sweets I make, this has some chopped pistachios sprinkled on top for a nice contrasting crunchy texture and sweet nutty taste, but you can feel free to omit it or swap it with whatever nuts you have in your cupboards. I hope you enjoy it, dear reader, and that you have a wonderful year ahead of you. And if you are antsy for a good soup, this Hungarian mushroom soup will make for good eatin’ in the meantime. Talk soon!Elderberry Tiramisu

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Elderberry Tiramisu

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword tiramisu
Servings 9 people

Ingredients

Elderberry Concentrate

  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries or 1 ⅓ cups fresh elderberries removed from the stem
  • 1/3 cup blackberries fresh or frozen (I recommend frozen if making this outside of blackberry season)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Elderberry Drizzle  (optional garnish)

  • 3 tablespoons elderberry concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream cold
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cold
  • 3 tablespoons elderberry concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Assembly

  • 26 ladyfinger cookies
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios

Instructions

Elderberry Concentrate

  1. Bring the elderberries, water, and honey to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the elderberries rehydrate and the mixture is a deep purple color. Add vanilla and stir, then remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate.

Elderberry Drizzle (optional garnish)

  1. Heat honey and 3 tablespoons of the elderberry concentrate in a very small pot (like a greek coffee pot) until hot but not boiling. Add the cornstarch and whisk with a fork until combined. Once the mixture thickens slightly, remove it from heat and allow it to cool, stirring for the first 5 minutes. Mixture should be able to coat the back of a spoon, but still slightly drippy. If it’s thickened too much, you can add a teaspoon or two of water and stir. Set aside and allow to cool.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks and sugar at medium speed until pale and silky smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a separate bowl and set aside for a moment.

  2. Place the whipping cream in the stand mixer bowl (you don't need to clean it out after the egg yolks, it's fine if there's some residue), and beat at medium speed until the mixture holds soft peaks, being VERY careful not to overbeat it. Add the egg yolk mixture, mascarpone, 3 tablespoons of the elderberry concentrate, and the salt to the whipping cream and beat at low speed until combined. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble.

Assembly

  1. Take a ladyfinger cookie and dip it quickly and fully in the elderberry concentrate, then place it in a rough 9 1/2 x  9 1/2-inch square baking pan. Do not hold the cookie in the liquid too long otherwise the tiramisu will get runny. Repeat until you have one layer of the cookies (you should have used about half of them). Then pour half of the mascarpone cream over the cookies and use a spatula to even it out.

  2. Repeat the dipping process with the remaining cookies to create one more layer of cookies on top of the mascarpone, and then top this cookie layer with the remaining half of the mascarpone whipped cream. Top with the elderberry drizzle and sprinkle the pistachios on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hour before serving, but overnight refrigeration is best to form up the shape of the tiramisu. Then serve and enjoy!

elderberry concentrateladyfinger dipping Elderberry Tiramisu elderberry

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