On the first night of our self-catering holiday in Tuscany we had arranged to have a meal waiting for us on arrival. Although it was costly and I am usually as thrifty as they come, the promise of a home-cooked meal after a long journey with little people, and the avoidance of having to head straight from the airport to do a food shop, was a priceless treat. We were greeted by lasagne and tiramisu for four people, which had been cooked by a local Italian Mama and was not only delicious but also so generously portioned that it fed us for two days. Knowing that we had young children, the tiramisu had been thoughtfully made with strawberries rather than coffee, which worked beautifully and also made it count towards our five-a-day. That's how it works, right?
My two and a half year old spent the rest of the holiday asking for, "More misuuuuuuu!", so when we got back I came up with this bambino-friendly recipe using raspberries and hot chocolate instead of coffee, and creme fraiche instead of eggs. Raw eggs can give children funny tummies, plus eliminating the separating and whipping of the eggs makes it a quick pudding to make. My two see this as a real treat, which is great as it is so easy to throw together. One layer of each tiramisu component fits perfectly in an espresso cup, and is just the right portion size for little mouths. If you're making it for grown-ups you might want to do several layers for a bit of refinement, which looks pretty served it in a glass cup or ramekin.
creme fraiche or double cream
- First off, there are no specific measurements to this as it's so easy to make - just taste stuff as you go along and add more/less of each ingredient depending on how you like it.
- Make some hot chocolate with cocoa powder and boiling water (not mllk) in a shallow dish - enough to dip your finger biscuits in later. Make it nice and strong so that the biscuits go really chocolatey. Let it cool a little while you get on with the cream.
- Mix mascarpone and creme fraiche together to make a creamy mixture. I like more mascarpone than creme fraiche (approx 3:1) but it's entirely up to you - have a little experiment. You can use double cream instead of creme fraiche if you prefer.
- This step is optional and depends on how much of a sweet tooth you have; sweeten the cream with icing sugar - add a little at a time, combine and taste as you go. I don't add any sugar as I like the contrast with the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients.
- Dip the finger biscuits in the hot chocolate, turning them several times so that they absorb the liquid. Break them up and place them in the bottom of the cup.
6. Top the biscuits with a layer of raspberries, and then top the raspberries with a generous layer of cream.
7. Dust with cocoa powder (and add chocolate shavings if you like) and top with more raspberries. Eat straight away or pop in the fridge.
8. If making for adults and/or you have more time - begin with a layer of cream, then cocoa, biscuits, cream, cocoa, raspberries, cream, cocoa... and repeat, finishing with cream and a thick dusting of cocoa (I was told by an Italian that a sign of a good tiramisu is one where the cocoa is so thick it makes you cough).