I have a weakness for tiramisu. And much as I love the real deal, I’ve created this inauthentic one to celebrate the fleeting cherry season. Cherries aren’t cheap, but I still buy them the moment they appear in the shops, lest lack of demand eventually sees them off in favour of more easily harvested and therefore more affordable fruit (a lifelong paranoia). Of the original recipe, I have kept the booze-soaked biscuits and creamy mascarpone, to which I’ve added a wickedly rich, dark chocolate ganache and the softly poached fruit.
Poached cherry and chocolate tiramisu
The grassy notes of an unaged tequila go beautifully with dark chocolate and fruit. If you can’t find tequila, brandy will serve you well.
Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Chill 6 hr
170g caster sugar
½ vanilla pod, or ½ tsp vanilla extract
Juice from 1 orange and zest from ½
400g cherries, halved and stoned
2 tbsp kirsch
3 eggs, separated
20 savoiardi biscuits
For the ganache
250ml double cream
175g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
First cook the cherries. Put 100g of the sugar, vanilla, orange zest and juice in a pan and cook over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer, then add the cherries, tequila and kirsch. Cook for a couple of minutes until the cherries are just tender. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside. Beat the yolks and the remaining sugar together until they are pale and have at least doubled in volume. This takes three to four minutes, so use an electric whisk to avoid a sore elbow. Now beat in the mascarpone, a third at a time, to avoid lumps. Fold the whites into the mascarpone mix.
Now make the ganache: heat the cream in a saucepan until just simmering, turn off the heat and pour it over the chocolate, stirring to melt it. Add two tablespoons of the cherry juices into the melted chocolate.
Lay the biscuits out in a shallow, wide dish that is large enough to give you a single layer of biscuits. Drain the remaining liquid from the cherries and drizzle it evenly over the biscuits. Pour over the ganache as evenly as possible; don’t worry if it does not completely cover the biscuits. Now spread the mascarpone over the ganache. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight if easier, but it starts to deteriorate after 24 hours.
Dust with a little cocoa powder and bring to the table in all its glory.
And for the rest of the week
The poached cherries are delicious with vanilla ice-cream or as an accompaniment to panna cotta; you can make them more crowd-friendly by cutting down on the tequila. The ganache can be turned into a delicious chocolate sauce for ice-cream by heating with another 75ml whole milk, a knob of butter and a tablespoon of golden syrup. I always then add one to two tablespoons of unaged tequila – the flavour is just wonderful.
- Food styling: Aya Nishimura