I made a video of my girls and I making strawberry tiramisu recently on Instagram and it was such a hit, I loved seeing others making this, so decided it should be a permanent recipe on the blog too!
There are so many reasons I love this version of tiramisu, first and foremost because strawberries and cream in any combination is a treat. But also, this tastes like strawberry shortcake without having to bake (note that down, those without an oven or, like me, who live in sweltering hot places in the summer and don’t want to bake), and because of that you can even make it in any container or form you like — individual cups or glasses, in a long, rectangular glass dish, a trifle bowl, or like here, a cake tin (which I love as it feels more like “cake” and reminds me of making a Tuscan zuppa inglese). Finally, even though it’s best to wait a few hours for it to set, it’s quick and easy to make. Even the kids can do it.
This is more or less the tiramisu recipe that I learned when I was 16 from a family friend who had lived in Rome. Actually tiramisu is one of those newer recipes — invented in the 1960s in the Veneto, they say — which explains the cross-regional ingredients (savoiardi from the Veneto and mascarpone from Lombardy) and also means, unlike centuries old traditional recipes, there is really no “set” way to make it. My Tuscan mother in law makes a tiramisu in a way that I admit isn’t my favourite — she uses pavesini biscuits, which are the same shape as savoiardi but flat and in my opinion are inferior because you don’t get the fluffy, sponge like layer that you have from savoiardi and they can too easily get soggy. She also uses dark chocolate, chopped roughly in chunks to cover her tiramisu, which I think jars with the delicate cloud-like cream and fluffy biscuit layer – a light dusting of grated chocolate or even powdered cocoa is my preference, if anything at all.
To be honest, it’s just a very simple variation of the classic tiramisu, just more kid friendly. In place of the coffee (spiked perhaps with rum or vin santo), the biscuits are dipped in macerated strawberries and their juices. I recommend doing this in high strawberry season when they are ripe and plentiful — you will get plenty of juice as the strawberries macerate with a bit of sugar and lemon juice. But if you find they’re not as juicy as you hoped, you can add a splash of orange juice (blood orange juice is wonderful, also for the colour), and while you’re at it, add a bit of the zest in there too! Raspberries are a delicious alternative.
Note, this recipe uses raw eggs so it is important that you have very fresh, organic, free-range eggs – if that isn’t already your norm. There are many recipes online that involve pasteurising the eggs if you are squeamish about using them raw, but it isn’t the way it is normally done in Italy so rest assured this is a healthy, delicious treat as it is.
- 500 grams of ripe strawberries (note, my girls eat a lot of them along the way, I think we used in the end about 400 grams)
- 200 grams sugar
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 3 very fresh eggs, separated
- 500 grams mascarpone (if you want to make your own, see here)
- 500 gr savoiardi (lady finger) biscuits
- A small square of dark chocolate, grated, or powdered cocoa for garnish, optional
Chop the strawberries into small pieces or slices, discarding the green tops. Place the strawberry pieces in a bowl and scatter over 50 grams of the sugar and the zest and juice of the lemon. Leave to marinate (macerate) about 1 hour at least.
To make the mascarpone cream, separate the yolks and the whites into two medium to large sized bowls. Whip the yolks with the sugar until you have a dense, creamy and pale mixture. Add the mascarpone until combined. Whisk the egg whites (make sure you use a very clean bowl, glass or metal is best, and very clean beaters to quickly get beautifully stiff whites) until you have stiff peaks that hold their shape even when you turn the bowl upside down. Fold the whites into the mascarpone mixture. Set aside — if not using straight away, store covered in the fridge.
If making a round, cake-like tiramisu this should make 3 layers. You may get 2 if using a rectangular glass dish.
The strawberries should have created a lot of lovely juice. Strain the juice into a shallow dish wide enough for the biscuits to fit and set aside the berries. Dip biscuits one by one quickly on both sides and make an even layer your prepared tin. Repeat with more biscuits until you have a nice, tight layer that covers the base of the tin – you can break them to make sure they fit. Cover the lady fingers with a thick layer of mascarpone cream (if making three layers, use one third of the mixture, if making two use half). Layer over some of the macerated strawberries. Repeat layering with dipped lady fingers, cream again, strawberries and so on until you finish with a thick layer of cream.
Leave in the fridge overnight (or for at least four hours if you are in a hurry), covered. Decorate with more strawberries, grated chocolate or cocoa powder and enjoy!