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(Half) Birthday Tiramisu & Cherry Trifle, mid-winter

January 14, 2011

Back in July, I made a very complicated, expensive, and delicious dessert called Mixed Berry Tiramisu with Lime Curd from a 2009 Bon Appetit piece. Later, with some of the leftover ladyfingers, I made Nigella Lawson’s Cherry Trifle (photos & recipe for that below).

Summer is a wonderful time for desserts like this, and when the snow starts to get high and my legs stay cold, I think fondly of July.

The tiramisu was one of the more complicated things I’d ever made, but I thought that since I had a baby, I’d simplify it by NOT making the lime curd. However, I (wisely) called specialty shops all around the city and couldn’t find anyplace that sold it. So, I made it. The lime curd portion of the recipe is worth making–even if you don’t make the tiramisu portion. If you want to make lime curd now for later, you can make some and can it using this recipe for water bath canning. And here’s the same one, changed slightly, with lots of great photos.

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I think this may be my upcoming project. It’s wonderful in winter to fill my emptying pantry with citrus preserves–marmalades and curds. But keep this tiramisu recipe in mind when it’s hot out and berries are in season…and then pull your homemade lime curd off the shelf so you can skip that step! If you don’t want to bother, make the cherry trifle. It’s wonderfully simple compared to the tiramisu–but you do miss that punch from the lime.

Cherry Trifle

original recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be a Domestic Goddess. The comments are my own.


1/2 C. plus 2 T. brandy

1 vanilla bean, cut into lengths

1 1/3 C. whole milk

1 1/3 C. heavy cream

8 large egg yolks

1/4 C. sugar

8 store-bought ladyfingers (Look for them at specialty Italian stores–they’re better and cheaper.)

about 1/2 C. best quality cherry jam (I use my own homemade amaretto cherry jam.)

1 1/2 lb. cherries

topping (Read the whole recipe; you may want to simplify and only use the almonds and cream.):

3 T. slivered almonds

2 1/4 C. heavy cream

1 T. strained (or not) cherry jam

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 T. water

In a small saucepan, bring about 4 T. of the brandy and the chopped vanilla bean to a boil for 2 min. Remove from heat and cool.

Fill the sink with cold water. Start the custard by warming the milk and cream in a saucepan. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar, then beat the warm milk and cream into the yolks. Put everything back into the washed-out saucepan and, stirring or whisking constantly, keep on a low heat until it thickens. (It shouldn’t take long.) If you think that the custard may split (break), plunge the pan into the sink of cold water and beat with an electric whisk until it is thick.

When the custard thickens, take it off the heat and stir in the brandy-vanilla infusion. Set aside, covered with wax paper, until cool.

Split the ladyfingers and sandwich with the cherry jam. Line a bowl with them. Pour over the remaining 6 T. brandy and now, holding them over the ladyfingers in the bowl, pit the cherries. (This keeps the yummy cherry juice in your dessert rather than going down the drain.) Pour over the cooled custard, cover with plastic wrap, and rest in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

When you’re almost ready to eat, toast the almonds in a dry pan for a few minutes until they’re golden. Cool. Whip the cream until thick, but still soft, and put it onto the custard. Put the strained cherry jam, lemon juice, and the tablespoonful of water into a little pan and bring it to a boil until it is a runny red syrup. Allow the syrup to cool, then scatter the almonds, then syrup, over the trifle. (Note: When I made this, I didn’t bother with the syrup and it was still wonderful.)

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