When the weather outside is grey and miserable, I would like to be teleported to the beach where I spent my childhood building sand castles and splashing in the sea: I yearn to lay lazily with my feet buried in the warm sand, with the sea breeze stroking my skin and bringing the smell of summer fruits, while sipping a refreshing lemon granita.
But this is not possible, so the best way for me to bring some Italian summer home is to make a strawberry and limoncello tiramisù.
I prefer this to the traditional chocolate and coffee tiramisù for many reasons: one of them is that it reminds me of a cake that my mum used to bake for my birthday. And with the freshness of the fruits, the tanginess of limoncello and the creamy sweetness of the mascarpone, this tiramisù feels like southern Italy – where I come from – much more than the classic one.
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Try to make it this weekend, to surprise and delight your family or to serve at a party: I guarantee you that you will quickly become very popular. And your guests don’t need to know that it is actually very quick and easy to make – this secret stays between us!
If you don’t have the time to marinate the strawberries, don’t worry: you can make this tasty tiramisù by squeezing the juice of a couple of lemons and adding it to about 50 g of sugar. Then follow the recipe from here, by adding the water and the limoncello.
A little warning note: this tiramisu contains raw eggs. Please don’t give to small children and older people, as raw eggs have a small risk of carrying salmonella. If in doubt, use powdered eggs.
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Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
For the cream:
6 egg yolks (very fresh)
60 g icing sugar
500 g mascarpone
60 g limoncello
For the liqueur:
250 ml strawberry marinade (see recipe)
100 ml water (warm)
12 tbsp limoncello
For the cake:
750 g strawberries
150 ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
400 g savoiardi biscuits (also called ladyfingers or sponge fingers)
100 g caster sugar
1. The evening before, prepare the strawberry marinade: wash and cut the strawberries in quarters (keep about 100 g aside to decorate the tiramisù), put them in a bowl together with the sugar and the lemon juice; stir thoroughly to coat all the strawberries well, cover with cling film and put in the fridge to rest overnight.
2. In the morning prepare the cream: beat the mascarpone with a wooden spoon until soft and set aside. Whisk all the egg yolks with 60 g of icing sugar until you obtain a clear and frothy cream (when you lift the whisk, the egg has to form a thick ribbon). Add the limoncello and keep whisking for a few more minutes, then add the mascarpone and beat until smooth and shiny. Cover with cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, strain the strawberries and set them aside. Take 250 ml of the marinade, and pour it in a pot together with the water and 12 tbsps of limoncello. Boil the liqueur for a couple of minutes and then let it cool down.
4. Soak each savoiardi biscuit in the liqueur, and arrange them in a deep rectangular dish. Spread a layer of strawberries over the savoiardi, then cover it all with a layer of cream. Then add another layer of savoiardi, strawberries and cream. Carry on like this until all the ingredients are finished, terminating with a layer of cream.
5. Decorate the top with the strawberries kept aside, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge. Wait at least two hours before serving. Keep the tiramisù refrigerated at all times and consume within 48 hours.
Silvana Lanzetta. Photo: Private
Silvana Lanzetta was born into a family of pasta makers from Naples and spent 17 years as a part-time apprentice in her grandmother’s pasta factory. She specializes in making pasta entirely by hand and runs regular classes and workshops in London.
Find out more at her website, Pastartist.com, including this recipe and others.