Tiramisu has always been one of my favorite indulgences since my first trip to Italy, in the late 80s, and trying the real thing. The key is having the right cream, because without that, it just tastes like something from a grocery store bakery section packaged in plastic - blech! Of course the lady fingers are a main ingredient as well, and being gluten-free, that become a new challenge. Luckily, I had a box of Shabtai lady fingers on hand, so I was good to go! I say almost egg-free, because the lady fingers do contain egg, yet I decided to forgo the usual raw egg in the cream.....that just doesn't sound appetizing the more I learn about food. The whipped heavy cream takes the place of the raw eggs in this recipe. I never said it was healthy!
The recipe is incredibly simple, and easy to prepare ahead of time. The best part of all, it requires no cooking, baking or heating.
I will say this, I enjoyed the flavor of the Shabtai cookies, but I felt they were a bit too small and thin in comparison to traditional lady fingers. I think next time I will go with Schar.
1 package ladyfingers
1 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, I used BelGioioso - all of their cheeses are gluten-free!
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups espresso or strong coffee, chilled
100% cocoa to sprinkle on top
Using an electronic hand-mixer, blend the heavy cream and vanilla until it becomes whipped cream with stiff peaks.
In another bowl, using a rubber scraper, combine the mascarpone with the sugar and blend well. Next, add the whipped cream, using the rubber scraper, until it is well blended. Taste it now, and you won't be able to stop!
At this time, dip one side of the lady fingers carefully into the chilled coffee. Don't dip too long or they will fall apart. Once they are dipped, place them into a 8x8 baking dish, or something similar in size and pretty, and line the bottom with the cookies.
Top the layer of cookies with half of the cream mixture, sprinkle with the cocoa and then repeat the 3 layers so you end with the cocoa on top.
Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Serve with fresh fruit.