Tiramisù alle fragole (Strawberry Tiramisu)

Frankdessert26 Comments

Tiramisù alle fragole (Strawberry Tiramisu)

Tiramisù is one of those desserts everybody’s tried, and it seems just about everyone loves. But did you know that there are seasonal riffs on the classic recipe? Tiramisù alle fragole, or Strawberry Tiramisù, makes that iconic springtime fruit the star of your dessert. The technique is just like the one for the classic coffee and cocoa flavored version, but switches out the coffee for a strawberry coulis and bits of macerated fruit, and uses strawberries as a topping instead of the usual dusting of cocoa.

If you ask me, tiramisù alle fragole is every bit as appealing as the original. And if you like strawberries—and who doesn’t?—you may find you like this version even more. So why not give it a try while strawberries are still in season?

Ingredients

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 400g (14 oz) store-bought ladyfingers aka sponge fingers or savoiardi (or two packages)

For the strawberry coulis:

  • 250g (1/2 lb) strawberries
  • 100g (3-1/2 oz) sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) water (or orange juice)
  • 50ml (1.5 oz or one shot) Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)

For the mascarpone cream:

  • 500g (1 lb.) mascarpone
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • About 250g (1/2 lb.) sugar

For the strawberry filling:

  • 250g (1/2 lb) strawberries, trimmed and cut into dice
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • Juice of half lemon

For the topping:

  • 250g (1/2 lb) strawberries, cut into slices, or q.b.

Directions

Preparing the strawberry coulis

Trim the strawberries of their stems and add them to a blender, along with the sugar and listed ingredients. Purée until smooth, then transfer to a saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the sugar has melted and the purée has reduced to a slightly syrupy consistency so that it coats a spoon. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

Preparing the mascarpone cream

While the strawberry coulis is cooling, separate the yolks from the whites. Set the whites aside for the moment. Whisk the yolks together with the sugar briskly until they emulsify and thicken; you should be able to see ribbons in the mixture as you whisk it. (A stand mixer makes short work of this job.) Add the mascarpone and continue whisking until you have a homogeneous creamy mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites gently into the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated.

Preparing the strawberry filling

Mix the cut up strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let macerate for 15-30 minutes, until the sugar has melted and the strawberries have slightly softened.

Preparing the topping

Trim and slice the remaining strawberries thinly lengthwise. Set aside. (If you prefer, you can trim the strawberries but otherwise leave them whole.)

Assembling and chilling

Lay down a thin layer of marcarpone cream on the bottom of a serving bowl or dish or, if you prefer, individual serving bowls as picture in this post.

Take a ladyfinger, dip it briefly on both sides in the strawberry coulis. As you dip the ladyfingers, arrange them in the bowl or dish. Continue until you have covered the bottom with them. (NB: Depending on the size of your bowl or dish, you may need to lay the ladyfingers in different directions and/or break them into shorter lengths so they fit snugly.)

Once you have laid down your first layer of ladyfingers, spread some of the mascarpone mixture over them, enough to cover them entirely. Then lay on the strawberry filling.

Lay on another layer of ladyfingers, then finally another layer of the mascarpone mixture. Smooth out the top with a spatula.

Put the dish into the fridge for at least an hour, or better several hours or even overnight.

Topping and serving

When you’re ready to serve your tiramisù alle fragole, place sliced or whole strawberries over the top of the mascarpone in a decorative pattern.

Tiramisù alle fragole (Strawberry Tiramisu)

Notes

Of course, tiramisù alle fragole will be at its very best if you use strawberries in season fresh from your local farm market. The flavor will be unbeatable and sing of spring! That said, since the fruit in this recipe gets a helping hand by being simmered or macerated with sugar, you can also use supermarket strawberries to good effect.

In my post on classic tiramisù way back in 2010, I complained that both ladyfingers and mascarpone were hard to find in the US and proposed substitutions. Well, perhaps due to the popularity of tiramisù, these days that’s no longer the case, at least not in my area. Most supermarkets around here carry both now. And if that’s not the case for your area, they’re available online as well.

And obviously, this recipe uses raw eggs. Although there are some rather tricky recipes for pasteurizing them yourself, an easier precaution if you have any concerns is simply to buy pasteurized eggs at the store. (NB: Just for the record, “pasteurized” is not the same thing as “pasture raised” so take care.)

Tips and Tricks

The main trick to making a perfect tiramisù alle fragole—just like making a classic tiramisù—is to dip the ladyfingers just long enough in the strawberry coulis so they are well coated and absorb some of that lovely strawberry flavor, while softening enough so it melds nicely with the mascarpone cream. But don’t linger too long or the ladyfingers will soften too much and turn mushy.

Otherwise, while you’ll spend a bit of time preparing each component of your tiramisù alle fragole, the assembly is a breeze. Do be patient and resist the temptation to dig in right away. While it’s perfectly edible as soon as it’s made, a tiramisù needs some time in the fridge to let the flavors and textures come together as they should. And the longer you let it sit, the more the mascarpone mixture will penetrate into the ladyfingers and soften them up, so the elements to form a cake-like mass.

Variations

When making tiramisù alle fragole, you can play around a bit with the measurements to suit your tastes, in particular the sugar, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have. And if you prefer a fresher taste, you can use an uncooked strawberry purée rather than a cooked coulis. In you go that route, use half the amount of liquid and let the strawberries macerate in the sugar—and be sure to use a superfine (aka caster) sugar so it dissolves without the application of heat—before puréeing. Some recipes add limoncello rather than the orange liqueur I’ve recommend here. Some call for alchermes, though good luck trying to source that outside Italy. In some recipes, a few mint leaves get layered in with the macerated fruit.

Finally, you can let your imagination go wild when it comes to the decorative topping, although many recipes just have you line up strawberry slices in neat rows, especially when you’re working with a square or rectangular serving dish. At the other end of the spectrum, some recipes get fancy and have you line a mold with ladyfingers around the circumference of a mold, then fill the mold up to the top and top with whipped cream and whole strawberries. After resting, the tiramisù is unmolded. It’s quite the sight to behold, a kind upscale strawberry shortcake.

Tiramisù alle fragole

Strawberry tiramisù

Ingredients

  • 400g 14 oz 400g (14 oz) store-bought ladyfingers usually two store-bought packages

For the strawberry coulis

  • 250g 1/2 lb 250g (1/2 lb) strawberries
  • 100g 3-1/2 oz 100g (3-1/2 oz) sugar
  • 250ml 1 cup 250ml (1 cup) water (or orange juice)
  • 50ml 1-1/2 oz Grand Marnier or Cointreau optional

For the mascarpone cream

  • 500g 1 lb mascarpone
  • 5 5 eggs, separated
  • 250g 1/2 lb sugar

For the strawberry filling

  • 250g 1/2 lb 250g (1/2 lb) strawberries trimmed and cut into dice
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 lemon juice of

For the topping

  • 250g 1/2 lb strawberries, left whole or cut into slices

Instructions

Preparing the strawberry coulis

  • Trim the strawberries of their stems and add them to a blender, along with the sugar and listed ingredients. Purée until smooth, then transfer to a saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the sugar has melted and the purée has reduced to a slightly syrupy consistency so that it coats a spoon. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. 

Preparing the mascarpone cream

  • While the strawberry coulis is cooling, separate the yolks from the whites. Set the whites aside for the moment. Whisk the yolks together with the sugar briskly until they emulsify and thicken; you should be able to see ribbons in the mixture as you whisk it. (A stand mixer makes short work of this job.) Add the mascarpone and continue whisking until you have a homogeneous creamy mixture.
    In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites gently into the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated.

Preparing the strawberry filling

  • Mix the cut up strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let macerate for 15-30 minutes, until the sugar has melted and the strawberries have slightly softened. 

Preparing the topping

  • Trim and slice the remaining strawberries thinly lengthwise. Set aside. (If you prefer, you can trim the strawberries but otherwise leave them whole.)

Assembling and chilling

  • Lay down a thin layer of marcarpone cream on the bottom of a serving bowl or dish or, if you prefer, individual serving bowls as picture in this post. 
    Take a ladyfinger, dip it briefly on both sides in the strawberry coulis. As you dip the ladyfingers, arrange them in the bowl or dish. Continue until you have covered the bottom with them. (NB: Depending on the size of your bowl or dish, you may need to lay the ladyfingers in different directions and/or break them into shorter lengths so they fit snugly.)
    Once you have laid down your first layer of ladyfingers, spread some of the mascarpone mixture over them, enough to cover them entirely. Then lay on the strawberry filling. 
    Lay on another layer of ladyfingers, then finally another layer of the mascarpone mixture. Smooth out the top with a spatula. 
    Put the dish into the fridge for at least an hour, or better several hours or even overnight.

Topping and serving

  • When you're ready to serve your tiramisù alle fragole, place sliced or whole strawberries over the top of the mascarpone in a decorative pattern. Preparing the strawberry filling

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26 Comments on “Tiramisù alle fragole (Strawberry Tiramisu)”

  1. Frank, when I think of tiramisu, always think of the traditional version. Your post and recipe was a game changer. Yes! Tiramisu can be revised to reflect the season. Thank you.

    Velva

  2. Frank this one hits my inbox just as our local strawberries are coming to peak. A lovely dessert and one that we’ll be trying. Glad to here you’re getting the proper ladyfingers and mascarpone these days. That was certainly a frustration of mine when I live in the US.

  3. You make a good point about ladyfingers and mascarpone, Frank. I do remember the time when I would have to hunt these down at an Italian import store here in the area. Now they are readily available in most stores. I hope they are easy to find once we finish the move down to Asheville (this week!!) as I need this strawberry tiramisu on our menu soon!

  4. I had no idea there were authentic variations on this favourite. The strawberry version sounds delicious and a perfect way to end a meal. The colour is beautiful too.

    1. Thanks so much, Eva! It does make for a nice change. Later this summer I plan to feature yet another version made with limoncello, perfect for the hot weather months…

  5. That looks delicious and a great new version of tiramisu for summer! I’ve never seen savoiardi called ladyfingers before in spite of spending several years in America. No shortage of them or mascapone in Europe!

    1. Thanks so much, MD! I’ll need to make of that terminology difference. Wikipedia says that they can also be called “sponge fingers”… is that right?

  6. Love your spin on this classic and tho’ I do minimize my use of sugar these days the temptation will probably be too big once strawberries are in the shops again ! Australia does not seem to have the same health problems with eggs as are present in the States. I use raw ones all the time tho’ most of mine are bought organic. We do not buy eggs pre=washed here . . . since they still are covered by their natural wax we also do not refrigerate them either.

    1. I’m not big on sweets, either, Eha. But I do make an exception for tiramisù! Lucky that you don’t have to worry about eggs. Truth be told, I use raw eggs without worrying too much, either. Make sure to always use organic/certified humane and I figure I’ll be good. It’s the mass produced “factory” eggs that can be dodgy.

  7. What a beautiful dessert! I love tiramisu – classic and various seasonal twists. I’ve tried many variations (For some my not-so-authentic interpretations I can be banned from entering Italy haha), but fresh strawberries are one of the best additions. And nope, orange liquor isn’t optional in my book!

  8. Tiramisù is wonderful stuff! Love it. But I had no idea there was a strawberry version. Thanks for this. And fortunately both mascarpone and ladyfiners are always available in my local supermarket, so I’m good to go. Oddly, though, pasteurized eggs seem to have disappeared (haven’t seen them for a years). Anyway, such a neat dish — thanks.

    1. Thanks so much for the kinds words, John! Funny you should mention pasteurized eggs, as the last time I checked my local supermarket, they weren’t there, either… Anyway, I personally don’t sweat using raw eggs too much. I figure if I use a reputable organic/certified humane brand, the risks should be minimal.

  9. I’m just starting to get marscapone at my store, but ladyfingers and savoirdi biscuits?! Nope. thank goodness for Amazon. Great dessert.

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