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No-cook tiramisu a summer keeper

Thursday, August 09, 2001

How's this for a dessert? Easy, no baking involved and absolutely delectable.


If you've never had the pleasure of tasting tiramisu, you're in for a treat. If you have tasted this Italian dessert, you know what we mean. A simple description of tiramisu (meaning pick me up) is a cake made with ladyfingers or sponge cake soaked in coffee or espresso and a custard-like filling made with either mascarpone or cream cheese. There are many versions of this dessert -- one of them is our recipe today, Strawberry White ChocolateTiramisu.

White chocolate is not truly chocolate because it does not contain chocolate liquor (When cocoa beans are removed from their pods, they're fermented, dried, roasted and cracked, separating the nibs from the shells. The nibs are ground to extract some of the cocoa butter, leaving a thick, dark brown paste called chocolate liquor). White chocolate is made with a mixture of cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin (for a smooth texture) and vanilla.

This recipe also calls for fresh strawberries. Although our local strawberry season is all but over, you can still find fresh strawberries in most of the larger grocery stores. We decided to experiment a bit and decorated the cake with sliced strawberries in the center with a border of overlapping kiwi fruit -- our guests approved. We made the cake a second time substituting the coffee with a coffee liqueur. This time we substituted the strawberries with nectarines and blueberries, as in the photo.

After serving this dessert, we were given the supreme compliment-- empty plates.

Note: This recipe calls for two 6-ounce packages of Nestle's white chocolate baking bars. We searched several Giant Eagles for this product with no luck. We finally found it at Kuhn's Market, Baptist Road.

A tip: The cream will whip faster if you use a cold bowl and beaters.

Kathleen Zechmeister of South Park Township sent in this recipe in response to a request from Ann Olmeda of Rochester, Mich.

Strawberry White Chocolate Tiramisu

12 ounces white chocolate (we used Nestle's white baking chocolate)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
3-ounce package cream cheese or mascarpone, soft ened
36 ladyfingers, split (you will need three 3-ounce pack ages)
1 1/4 cups cooled espresso or strong coffee or 1/2 cup of liqueur such as Bailey's
2 tablespoons brandy, optional
2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed and sliced

Melt the chocolate with 1/4 cup of the whipping cream in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Stir until smooth; cool to room temperature.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese or mascarpone until fluffy. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Whip remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold (see note) the whipped cream into the cream cheese-chocolate mixture; set aside.

Line the sides of a 9-by-3-inch springform pan with ladyfinger halves, cut sides in. In small bowl, combine coffee and brandy. Arrange half the remaining ladyfingers on bottom of the pan. Brush with coffee mixture. Cover with half the filling. Cover filling with half of the sliced strawberries.

Repeat layers, ending with strawberries. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.

Note: To fold, place the heavier mixture over the light mixture. Starting at the back of the bowl, cut vertically through the mixtures and across the bottom of the bowl. This method gently combines the mixtures.


Christine L. Balsley of McCandless wonders if Giant Eagle would be willing to share its recipe for Chinese Marble Cookies.


The first line of this e-mail intrigued us. It was sent by Marguerite Hannon of Fox Chapel: "So you know what happens to your recipes?" No we don't, but we really want to know.

"Well, here is one follow-up. Remember the Chilled Tomato Bisque you had in the Kitchen Mailbox recently? I remembered it while rooting around for a satisfying lunch. Had about 1 1/2 cups canned tomato sauce left in the fridge, so instead of tomato juice and paste I used the sauce, slightly thinned with about half a 6-ounce can tomato juice, tossed in a handful of cold, cooked curly noodles and stole a wedge of avocado from one I was using to make a salad dressing for another time. I chopped it on top of the soup instead of chives. I halved the recipe -- it was so good I ate it all myself."

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

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