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Fresh Berry Tiramisu


When I picked fresh blueberries near Lake Superior during summer camp as a kid, I was probably more concerned about the potential for a bear to dash out of the woods and fight me for the tart little orbs than I was excited about the opportunity to have berries, fresh from the source. Other summers, there were the tender raspberries my mom picked from our backyard bushes that had only a short trip to the house before becoming dessert. Tasty dessert, Mom. Thanks. But, did I appreciate the delicate nature of the fruit and the care taken in picking each little morsel one by one? I don’t think so. Kids.

These days during summer, I can much more appreciate berry season and the juicy little boxes of locally-grown raspberries at the farmers' market or the grocery store, whose journey to the produce aisle was much shorter and sweeter than off-season fare. Take advantage of the supply and try your hand at this different twist on tiramisu that uses both blueberries and raspberries to make a dessert that shouts “refreshing,” according to its creator Lori Longbotham, author of many cookbooks, including Luscious Berry Desserts and Luscious Chocolate Desserts. This is perfect for a summertime celebration—or for enjoying in the dead of winter, when you wish it were summer. In fact, she notes, it’s so luscious and delightful, you may never go back to a traditional recipe for the Italian confection. (To save time, you could substitute store-bought lemon curd for the raspberry curd if need be.)

Pretty in Pink Tiramisu

Serves 10 to 12

¼ c. sugar
¼ c. water
3 strips lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
1 7-oz. package Italian ladyfingers (savoiardi)
Blueberry sauce (see recipe), cooled
1 17.5-oz. container mascarpone cheese
¾ c. heavy cream
Raspberry curd (see recipe), chilled
2 6-oz. containers ripe raspberries (optional)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring sugar, water, and lemon zest to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture into a small bowl and cool to room temperature. Remove zest with a slotted spoon and discard.

Cover the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish with ladyfingers, cutting to fit as necessary. (You may have a few left over.) Brush them with cooled sugar syrup. Pour blueberry sauce over the ladyfingers.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat mascarpone and cream in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in raspberry curd just until well combined. Spoon the mixture over the blueberry sauce and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Garnish the tiramisu with raspberries, if desired, and serve in bowls.

Blueberry Sauce
Makes 4 cups

2 pt. fresh ripe blueberries
½ c. confectioners’ sugar
¼ c. water
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring blueberries, sugar, and water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lemon juice. Serve warm, or cool to room temperature, chill, and serve cold. (The sauce may be made up to 1 week in advance, kept covered and chilled, and gently reheated.)

Raspberry Curd
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 6-oz. packages ripe raspberries
¾ c. sugar
Pinch of salt
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, mash berries, sugar, and salt with a pastry blender, potato masher, or fork.

Melt butter in a heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in raspberry mixture and yolks. Cook, whisking frequently at first, and then constantly at the end, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not allow the mixture to boil.)

Immediately pour curd through a coarse strainer into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. (The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.) Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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