Giada De Laurentiis celebrates the best of both of her worlds, her Italian roots and adopted California hometown, in her new book "Giada at Home." This recipe for lemon hazelnut tiramisu is yet another example of how well she marries the time-tested traditions of Italy with the health-conscious philosophy of the West Coast. (Stay tuned for my review of her fabulous new book).
I've never made tiramisu before. That is, other than my previous attempt at Martha Stewart's so-so tiramisu cupcakes.
Maybe I should have tried to make the traditional version before venturing out onto a limb with this one, but I can't resist lemon (ahem: lemon meringue cupcakes, lemon-scented pull apart coffee cake, lemon yogurt cake with blueberry sauce, nor can I resist hazelnut (ahem: hazelnut brittle, baci di dama, chocolate-dipped hazelnut marbles), and so there was no question I needed to celebrate the beautiful weather with this sophisticated dessert.
The perfect opportunity presented itself on Easter weekend with our nephew's 16th birthday.
You can find the recipe on the Food Network website or simply by following this link. And thank goodness I seized the opportunity. Each bite cast my palate's memory back to the idyllic time I spent on the Amalfi Coast where the abundance of lemons means it features prominently on all dessert menus.
Substitutions: None, although I must admit I was sorely tempted to add half a teaspoon of instant espresso powder to the lemon syrup mixture, and I may indeed try that in the future.
Would I make this again? If I want to impress my guests, then yes. This was a light, airy, dare I say refreshing, version of the traditional tiramisu.
I was especially impressed that the ladyfingers just soaked up enough of the syrup to impart the delicate lemon-scented syrup. (I dipped one side of each ladyfinger in the syrup for a quick second on each side before turning it to the other side.) I had been worried they'd end up like the booze-soaked soggy messes that I've eaten one too many times.
The hazelnut also provided the perfect crunch even after more than a day in the fridge. I think that with this recipe you will have a higher chance of success if you keep it longer in the fridge. I'm not saying to keep it for days, but the flavours will better meld together after a full 24 hours rather than if you were to pull it out after a mere four or five hours. Even a few days after I made it, it was the superb accompaniment to a steaming cup of coffee.
Grade: Five stars out of five. I really can't find any faults other than the fact that mascarpone can be pricey, but even that was on sale the week I made this tiramisu.