There was a bit of a debate going on last week over the Amaretto/Amaretti issue. Interestingly they can both be made from almonds or apricot kernels. Naturally, for my choice of ALMONDS as this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, I had to go a hunting for Amaretti biscuits made from almonds and that is what I did. The soft Amaretti that I used have a crumbly, dense almost fudge like texture and taste just like marzipan. So if this does not appeal to you, just substitute sponge fingers or even trifle sponges!
I had in my mind an almond tiramisu using both Amaretti biscuits and Amaretto liqueur but had a last minute change of heart. In the booze section at Waitrose, I spotted a good looking bottle of Marsala which lured me to it’s charms! I went with it largely because I know I will cook both sweet and savoury dishes with it.
Finding the soft Amaretti, which are far superior to the drier crunchier version meant that I had my biscuit base sorted. Now, I could begin to feel the Almond inspired Tiramisu coming together nicely. Some French almond extract and a good bar of dark chocolate to grate over the top……..perfect!
Having looked at many recipes for this decadent sumptuous dessert, I decided to make my own interpretation. My version does not contain any eggs so I suppose the texture is perhaps a little richer. But, if I am honest I could not be doing with whisking egg whites followed by whisking egg yolks with sugar. Was it going to improve the texture radically? My tip would be to very lightly whip the cream before combining with the Mascarpone. I lightened it up further by stirring in some milk which increased the volume of the cream mix and made it go much further.
Now, from the reaction of my 3 children I can tell you this is most definitely a pudding for the grown ups. Middle girl will usually eat any single thing that is called pudding including Christmas pudding, mince pies, 70% chocolate, baklava. But this, or rather the Amaretti soaked in coffee & Marsala, got a big old “YUK”. She did end up scooping off the biscuit and eating all the almond flavoured cream though……….I see hope, although the other two supported the “YUK” vote too!
Ingredients :- Makes 6 portions
1x 150ml double cream
2tbsp icing sugar
1 capful of French Almond extract (I used Sainsbury’s)
Milk to lighten cream mixture.
150g box of soft Amaretti
1 cup of freshly brewed filter coffee
Generous slug of Marsala
2 squares of good dark chocolate
Firstly place the Mascarpone in a bowl and stir it to make it smooth.
Lightly whip the double cream and add it to the Mascarpone along with the icing sugar and almond extract.
Stir to combine.
I added a few good splashes of milk( gradually) to the cream mixture and stirred it until I got a smooth and slightly looser consistency.
Set aside while you prepare the coffee mix.
Pour a cupful of freshly brewed coffee into a container and add a generous amount of Marsala or your chosen alcohol.
Have your glasses ready for assembly.
Dip each Amaretti into the coffee mixture until it has soaked up some of the liquid then place it in the bottom of the glass.
Add a spoonful of your cream mix and smooth it down.
Repeat this with another biscuit and another spoon of the cream and move on to the next glass until you have filled all six.
Grate the dark chocolate over all the Tiramisus and then chill.
This is most certainly a dish that, if you happen to love marzipan, bakewell tart or frangipane you will fall for. If however, the thought of these flavours fill you with horror feel free to substitute the almond biscuits and extract for something more to your own taste. I, however, may try to make my own Amaretti biscuits. I just can’t have enough almonds in my life!