Lemon Tiramisu Recipe
Lemon tiramisu is a great dessert to end a very romantic dinner. Yesterday, I served my Valentine a dinner that is reminiscent of our recent trip to Rome. Instead of the traditional ladyfingers in between the layers of mascarpone cream, I used chocolate chip biscotti instead. I flavored the mascarpone cream with Meyer lemons, which paired wonderfully with theItalian chocolate cookies.
We looked at the photos of our trip to Italy, while feeding each other from the dessert cups. My favorite place was, of course, the Vatican (thanks for the link, Bill!) with its magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Oh so romantic!
Yields: 6 large dessert cups18 chocolate chip biscotti cookies
3 egg yolks
4 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons)
5 tablespoons superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
2-½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
Prepping the lemons:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Wash the lemons. Zest and gather about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, then cut the lemons into quarters. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Roast in the oven at 425°F for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400°F and cook for 20 minutes until caramelized.
Let the lemons cool for about 20-30 minutes. Once the lemons are cool enough to handle, juice them. Gather about 1/3 cup of juice.
For the lemon mascarpone filling:
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, using an electric handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining superfine sugar until the texture thickens. Make a "double boiler" (a pot filled with hot water, covered with a piece of cloth) and place the bowl filled with whisked eggs on top. Slowly pour in the juice so that the eggs don't curdle; continue whisking the eggs at full speed for about 3-4 minutes. Check the temperature of the eggs; they should feel warm to the touch. Remove from the double boiler; add the lemon zest and salt. Continue whisking at full speed for about 5 minutes. Make sure the eggs are whisked for a long time, so the mousse is light and airy. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove any solids (zest and pulp). The mixture should fall like a ribbon of sauce when you lift the whisk. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
In another mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar to soften it. Slowly add the lemon curd mixture to the mascarpone, adding just a little lemon curd at a time. Add the lemon extract (if used).
Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. Always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping cream for optimum results. The whipping cream should also be whipped cold. Whip the cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Increase to maximum speed and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the texture will become grainy.
Pour 1/3 of the whipped cream into the lemon mascarpone cream. Mix well using a silicone spatula. Pour in the rest of the whipped cream; gently fold the whipped cream to get an airy mousse.
Reserve 6 biscotti for garnish. Using a sharp knife, coarsely chop the rest of the biscotti.
Transfer to the lemon mousse to a piping bag.
Pipe the mousse to fill glass cups about half way. Sprinkle with the chopped chocolate biscotti.
Repeat with another layer of mousse and chopped biscotti. Pipe the rest of the mousse over the biscotti. Level the filling with a spatula.
Plastic-wrap each cup and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up some other food odor from the refrigerator if the cups are not sealed properly.
When you're ready to serve, unwrap the cups and top with the reserved biscotti.
If you like, you could add 2 tablespoons of limoncello to the lemon custard.
The method used to ensure that the egg yolks are fully cooked is basically the same procedure used to make a sabayon.
I prefer using superfine sugar. It is fine-grained sugar and it dissolves more quickly than regular granulated sugar.
I buy biscotti cookies at a local market called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040.
I usually add a little salt to most desserts. Salt brings out all the flavors and will enhance the taste of your sweets.
I find it best to store the tiramisu for at least 4 hours so the biscotti cookies have time to soften and all the flavors of the lemon blend into the mascarpone filling.