I call this dessert (almost) tiramisu even though I know it's thousands of miles far from the classical one. I bet that the Italians are pretty selective with what should and what shouldn't be called Tiramisu. There certainly are a number of "rules" to follow when making tiramisu, as using espresso for instance - not just any kind of coffee and most preferably an Italian brand like Lavazza, Illy, Cello etc. Using raw eggs is another rule and most importantly, Mascarpone.
My "tiramisu" doesn't tick a single box of these rules but let's face it, if I think of it as of "almost tiramisu", who's to be hurt? :)
For those who suffer from lactose intolerance, is Mascarpone no option. At least I haven't been able to find a lactose-free one here in Sweden. I use a lactose free variant of "kvarg" instead, cream curd (jemny tvaroh in Slovak). It's delicious, light (only about 1% fat) and as close to Mascarpone as I could come.
When not following the rules, I can just as well be consistent about it and break the rest of them too: used neither Cognac nor Brandy. Instead I chose cacao liqueur which I think corresponds well with the cocoa powder decoration. At this point I must say that the best tiramisu I've ever had was a variant made with Baileys. Heavenly good.
As they say, "there aren't two tiramisu that taste the same", so why not experiment a little and make one that you can label as "your own"? Do any of you have some special "tiramisu tricks" you are willing to share?
Ingredients: (makes about 6 servings)
savoiardi lady fingers (about 18-20 pieces)
500 g light cream curd
1 cup espresso
2 shots cacao liqueur
vanilla sugar (or sugar and vanilla powder)
1. Make the espresso and let cool to a room temperature. Pour it into a shallow bowl and add the cocoa liqueur.
2. Dip the savoiardi in the espresso (both sides) and place one by one in a rectangular bowl.
3. Mix the curd with sugar and vanilla and spread a half of it on the savoiardi.
4. Make another layer of espresso savoiardi and cover with the rest of the curd.
5. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours. Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top before serving. Enjoy!