If there were ever a dessert that tasted like sunshine and summer, it would be this lemony Limoncello Tiramisu. I discovered lemon Tiramisu at a beachy little restaurant and when the recipe appeared in the Los Angeles Times, I used the original as a loose blueprint to create this luscious treat.
The Limoncello makes this extra lemony and fragrant along with fresh lemon juice. For those of you who have never tried Limoncello, it is 80 proof lemon Vodka, which takes me back to my first experience with Limoncello.
Many years back I was in a culinary store with a friend and we noticed some miniature Limoncello bottles. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "Hey look at these cute little bottles of lemonade. We should try these
Him: "Limoncello huh? I have never heard of it.
Me: "ooh it smells really lemony. Kind of like a lemon tree and lemon pledge.
Him: "Um LV, I don't think lemonade is supposed to taste like this"
Ok, so we thought the 80 proof lemon Vodka was lemonade. We both downed them in one big gulp and then were both dazed and confused. Aw good times:-) I was and still am a lightweight drinker, so you can imagine what kind of assault that Vodka had on my taste buds. But now, I know how to enjoy Limoncello and incorporate it into lots of great recipes.
Tiramisu is the quintessential Italian dessert. I know how to make a great classic Tiramisu and I have tried many bad ones where they were too wet and soggy. Traditional Tiramisu utilizes lady fingers, but I wanted to go in a different direction, so I used sponge cakes. I can see food snobs giving me the side eye when I tell you that Little Debbie Cloud Cakes or Twinkies make this really kick ass good. You are going to have to trust me on this one.
We start with a great bottle of Limoncello, fresh lemons, Mascarpone cheese and lemon curd
The Limoncello is combined with fresh lemon juice and sugar to make a simple syrup infused with lots of great Lemon flavor. If the alcohol content concerns you, just cook a little longer and you can cook out the alcohol content and still have all the great flavor. Or if you want it boozy, you can add more Limoncello.
This fluffy sweet concoction is what you get when the Mascarpone is whipped and combined with the sugar, cream and lemon curd. This is so good, I could not stop eating it.
Slice the sponge cakes horizontally and spoon the lemon liquid over the cakes, chop into cubes and you are ready to start layering the Tiramisu. When they rave and ask whats in your Tiramisu, just smile sweetly and say, sponge cake:-)
Of course you can go traditional and use ladyfingers, but we are pushing boundaries. Right?
White chocolate truffles with fresh lemon zest are a great garnish
1 cup Limoncello Liquor
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Box of mini cream filled sponge cakes ( Hostess Twinkies or Little Debbie Cloud Cakes)
For the Lemon Mascarpone Cream
1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
16 ounces Mascarpone cream at room temperature
1 10 ounce Jar lemon Curd divided in half
White chocolate Truffles, lemon curd and lemon zest
Heat Limoncello, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer on low heat stirring often until sugar dissolves (a couple of minutes). Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
In a medium to large bowl, beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. It helps if the beaters and bowl and cream are very cold. You can chill the bowl and beaters in the freezer for a minute. This will make it a little easier to get the soft peaks when you whip your cream. Start adding the powdered sugar until well blended and fluffy.
In another bowl, beat the Mascarpone cheese and approximately 3/4 cup lemon curd until smooth. Save the rest to garnish the Tiramisu.
Slice sponge cakes horizontally and spoon the lemon syurp over them. Cut into chunks and layer in a trifle bowl, or mini goblets. You can also use a square or oblong pan. If you go this route, you can just lay the spongecakes that have been sliced in half, as close together as you can get them in the pan and there is no need to cut into chunks.
Make sure that you drizzle the lemon syrup over both sides of the cake. Once the first layer is complete, spoon a layer of the mascarpone mixture, add another layer of spongecake and repeat the process and finish by topping with mascarpone mixture. Use a knife or spoon to evenly spread the mascarpone mixture.
Top with remaining lemon curd and use knife to swirl it around a bit. Garnish with shaved white chocolate, if using goblets, place a dollop of lemon curd and a white chocolate truffle on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Makes 10-12 servings
This is so good, when you put it in the fridge, it might disappear like magic...
Sweet Endings! Bon Appetit!