DARK CHERRY TIRAMISU

“No dessert for me,” she said. “Ok.” Then I showed up with these and her head popped up. “On second thought…”

The first tiramisu that I ever tasted was with Ukrainians in a little restaurant that looked more like a mafia front located in an industrial zone. It was the best that I’ve ever tasted, and I have been trying in vain to match it ever since. The results are usually disastrous!

But this tiramisu isn’t really one… there’s no coffee… just lots of black cherries marinated in cognac sitting on cognac-imbibed lady fingers, and completely submerged in mascarpone cream. You really can’t go wrong here.

Well hello there…little cherries and big pot of mascarpone…

Cherries like these I usually eat straight. Pictured above is only the last bit of cherries after eating a sac full morning, noon, and night for three days. I was ready for something else.

Westmark at work

I came across this delectable contraption in one of those old-fashioned kitchen shops that you sometimes find in France where there is so much stuff that two people can’t pass each other in the same aisle. Everything is packed and piled high. Your eyes dart back, fourth, up, down. It’s worse than being a kid in a candy shop. It’s more like being a kid in a magic shop where you are certain to find a dusty treasure under a pile of some tawdry plastic knick-knacks.

One side is for cherries, olives, etc… the other for plums, apricots, etc… works like a charm. You can find all kinds of cherry pitters online, maybe even this one.

macerating cherries in cognac and sugar

recipe for dark cherry tiramisu:

Note: there are no measurements for this recipe… it’s very simple, and you just have to taste as you go along.

lady fingers…that’s another story… I made my own, but they weren’t pretty, so I won’t bother to share the recipe until I can get them right (just so flat!). You can buy them at the grocery store, or attempt to find a good recipe and share it with me!)

fresh cherries (if you have frozen ones (does that exist?) I think they could work just fine in this recipe, though the texture won’t be the same)

mascarpone

cold heavy whipping cream

sugar

cognac

water

Pit the cherries and place in a bowl. Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar and a shot of cognac over them. Be careful not to add too much cognac. It is there to dance with the cherries, not to overwhelm them. You want to taste cherry here! Stir well to coat all of the cherries. Cover and set aside or in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight, giving a little stir from time to time if you think about it.

Whip the mascarpone in a bowl until fluffy. In another bowl, preferably cold, whip the heavy whipping cream and enough sugar to taste…this could be slightly tricky because it will be mixed with the unsweetened mascarpone next. So if you want to go a little heavy on the sugar, don’t hesitate, because if you have to add more sugar after mixing the whipped cream with the mascarpone, your fluff might go pschtt! Add just a few spoonfuls of whipped cream to the mascarpone and whip just until mixed. Add the rest and whip again, just until mixed, and no more.

In a small bowl, combine a shot of cognac with a little water and sugar to taste. Use this to quickly imbibe each lady finger before placing it to create a first layer in your casserole dish or ramekins. A layer of cherries, a layer of mascarpone, then repeat starting with a second layer of imbibed lady finger. Finish as you like. I flattened each top with a cake decorating knife. To give them a streamlined finish, I placed two wooden skewers across the top and used a small sieve to lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder. These will keep nicely in the fridge for a day or two.

Yum!

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