Anytime Tiramisu

Perhaps you've noticed that I enjoy gourmet without all the fuss (truth be told, I don't mind all the fuss--just not with three children underfoot.) We had friends over for dinner tonight. My husband grew up with pancakes and eggs on Sunday night...comfort food after a day of church and family activities. As good as it is to have breakfast for dinner, my comfort food often requires some combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and fishy. (Those blasted Asian tastebuds!) The menu tonight: sesame-encrusted seared Ahi tuna steaks with a sweet wasabi soy sauce, homemade spring rolls, and a wonderful baked apple, pecan, and romaine salad our friends brought over. To complete this decadent-for-a-Sunday-night meal, I made a not-as-fancy-as-it-looks Tiramisu. This recipe is, as usual, a bit of an approximation; take liberties with the measurements. I also make my version sans raw egg yolks. I purchase marscapone cheese from Trader Joe's, of course, but in a pinch, I have tried this recipe with ricotta as well as cream cheese instead of marscapone. The marscapone is the best, but you might want to experiment. Any night is a good night for tiramisu. dsc02367.jpg

1 cup whipping cream 8 oz. marscapone cheese 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup 1/4 cup strong coffee 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, divided 1/8 cup dark rum (optional) 1/8 cup maple syrup about 30 ladyfingers cocoa powder

Line a loaf pan with wax paper, or Press-n-Seal wrap, with lining coming up the sides of pan. Whip cream until it holds shape. Add marscapone cheese and whip until smooth. Add vanila, sugar, chocolate syrup and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, and blend thoroughly between additions. Set aside. In shallow dish, mix together 1/2 cup coffee liqueur, rum, maple syrup, and coffee. Dip each ladyfinger until partially soaked and place as single layer on bottom of loaf pan. Then smooth about 1/4 inch thick layer of cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Repeat two more times. Sift light layer of cocoa powder on top of final layer of cheese mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, carefully lift tiramisu out with ends of the loaf lining. Place on serving platter. With a spatula pressed against one end of tiramisu, gently pull liner out from underneath same side. Slice and serve.