It’s well into day two of a major snow storm and I am getting a little antsy. I don’t dislike the winter but I am not a fan of how it can limit you.

Looking out the window at the blustery snow I decide to turn my mood around and do something I love to do … cook. I remember reading that the dessert Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian and think this would be a nice treat to switch up my disapproving mood for the weather so I rummage through my cupboard and fridge to see if I have everything I need. Voila!

The package of lady fingers I bought a month ago finally has a use. While I am getting everything ready my son calls to ask about substitutions for a recipe as he can’t get out to the store to get all the ingredients he needs. I guess I am not the only one looking for a “pick me up” to get me through this dismal day. Here’s hoping I inspire you to turn your day around when the weather gets you down and remember spring is just around the corner.

There are different variations of this dessert, some use a custard and mascarpone combination and some use a whipped cream and mascarpone combination. I have chosen the latter but feel free to read up on the custard version, they are both delicious.

Tiramisu

Brew 1 cup of your favourite strong coffee. Let cool. Using a stand mixer add:

1-1/2 cups of whipping cream

¼ c sugar

½ tsp vanilla

Whip cream to soft peak stage then add sugar and vanilla and continue whipping for another 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a bowl mix together:

1 cup mascarpone cheese

¼ cup of sugar

1 tsp orange zest

½ tsp rum flavouring

½ tsp vanilla

Gently fold whipped cream into cheese mixture. Have ready one package (about 24) lady finger cookies and about 2 ounces of semi sweet chocolate squares.

Now you can start layering. I used an 8” x 8” square pan. Quickly dip your lady fingers in the coffee and make a layer filling the bottom of the pan. I cannot stress enough the “quickly” part as they absorb the liquid fast and start to fall apart. You can also layer the cookies then brush with the coffee, whatever works best for you. Now take half of the cheese mixture and spread evenly onto the cookies. Grate one ounce of chocolate over the cheese mixture. Repeat. I always save a couple of cookies to crush and sprinkle on top for texture. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

You can get creative by adding a layer of crushed hazelnuts or a layer of stewed cherries to make a black forest version or even add a bit of peanut butter to the cheese mixture. You can even add real rum or a sparkling wine to the whipped cream mixture. Have fun with it! Enjoy!

Mari Ann Stiles – Owner/operator of Taco Stiles Food Truck

Twitter @taco_stiles

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