The best Tiramisu I have ever had was in Rome, a little restaurant by the Spanish Steps. We were first in Rome on Christmas Eve 1999, we had checked into our hotel in the morning and after a bit of sightseeing and a jet lag nap, we went off to look for a restaurant for dinner. What we found was heaven. This restaurant which I found out later was normally just a tourist destination, was set up for the locals with their families for Christmas Eve. I had the best meal of my life. A hot and cold antipasto table the likes of which I will never see again, A whole roasted fish cooked to perfection and of course Tiramisu. A funny story about that night, as we sat at our table, our very professional waiter was approaching from behind my wife and I saw a pair of scissors in his hand. Before I could say hey buddy what the heck are you doing, he had snipped the price tag of my wife’s new dress and without missing a beat placing it on the table, he continues to walk through the dining room as if nothing had happened….we were after all his for the night and he would not see us embarrassed! To this day I have never seen anyone fillet a whole fish as fast or more proficiently than he did…..but there I go again ….let’s get back to the Tiramisu!
So the first thing I did was brew a nice double shot of espresso, let it cool and added a healthy shot of pomegranate Liquor to it. I didn’t have a lot of lemon curd left, enough for a few desserts so I made them in sundae glasses. I had just enough syrup and pomegranate seeds left to complete it. Not only picture-perfect but wow was it good!! The espresso-soaked ladyfingers contrasting against the sweetness of the pomegranate filling was incredible!
I am a Tiramisu purest, an this is not a classical Tiramisu, but I have to say I would make this again! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Pomegranate Curd (adapted from James Peterson’s Baking)
2 Egg yolk
4 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 cup Pomegranate reduction (reserve 2 ounces for topping)
Add your eggs, egg yolks, sugar, Pomegranate reduction and lemon zest into a heatproof bowl that fits over a saucepan and whisk until well blended. Now place this bowl over a saucepan with an inch of simmering water in it, as the mixture begins to get warm add the butter a little at a time, and whisk the mixture until it thickens, about 5-7 minutes ( do not let this boil). Allow mixture to cool
While this mixture is cooling begin with your mascarpone recipe. (A helpful hint is to let your eggs and Marscapone come to room temperature first.)
16 oz Marscapone
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
18-20 crunchy style Lady Fingers (reserve 3 for garnish)
6 oz Espresso or Very Strong Coffee cooled
2 oz Pomegranate Liquor or POM Juice
In your mixer whip mascarpone with your whip attachment, add in Sugar, heavy cream and Pomegranate juice or liquor. Mix until well blended and smooth. At this time you can fold in your Pomegranate curd, and blend just enough to incorporate the two together. Do not over mix.
Now we can begin putting our dessert together! This will make 6 or 8 dessert glasses depending upon their size. For the first layer briefly soak your ladyfingers as you use them, in the espresso mixture, you want just the outer wall of the ladyfinger to get wet, do not soak them they will be mushy and you will not have enough espresso.
Place one of the soaked ladyfinger broken in half in the bottom of the glass. Spoon some of your Tiramisu cream of the ladyfingers and repeat the process using one and one-half ladyfinger for the next layer spooning a generous portion of your Tiramisu Cream on top of the next layer.
Add some of your reserved Pomegranate reduction for the topping, pomegranate seeds if you have any on hand and garnish with one half of an unsoaked ladyfinger. This is my version of a timeless classic, updated using POM Wonderful, I do hope you enjoy it!!
For lunch a purchased some Italian meats and provolone and a beautiful Ciabatta Baguette.
We still had some of that delicious Caponata I had made earlier in the week, (follow the link for the recipe), and a little shredded Romaine.
1 16-18 inch baguette of your choice or rolls
1/4 lb Genoa Salami
1/4 lb Hot Capicola
1/4 lb Sopressata
1/4 lb Provolone
1 cup Caponata
1/2 head shredded Romaine
Get good quality lunch meats, imported if possible, and have them sliced thin. The bread makes the sandwich so find the best bread you can for this wonderful sandwich. You can even press these briefly to warm the bread if you have a panini press. Feel free to adjust the ingredients, it is of course your sandwich!
Now just sit back and enjoy the day.