Strawberry tiramisu

So I have made many a strawberry tiramisu in the past. Ever since I was a student in college, I just loved the idea of making tiramisu that were not traditionally flavored. Ever since I moved back to Los Angeles, I fell in love with the aesthetic of the tiramisu at Cafe Bora in Koreatown, which were served in these cute round wooden cups. This recipe would be the culmination of all of the tiramisu I have eaten and made, using techniques I have perfected over the years I have spent baking and cooking. Layers of fluffy chiffon cake soaked with a tea made from dried strawberry leaves, layered with mascarpone mousse, strawberry jam, and a Strawberry Inspiration powder to finish. Definitely a summery take on an Italian classic, paying homage to the original, but with a completely fun and berry-forward interpretation on it!

Traditional tiramisu consists of savoiardi biscuits(or ladyfingers) soaked in a mixture of coffee and amoretto(or rum), layered with sweetened mascarpone cheese, and finished with a dusting of cocoa powder. For my take, I am using a vanilla chiffon cake. Since I am pairing this with strawberries, coffee is just out of the question – the acrid bitterness of coffee and the tartness of fruit together is a really overwhelming combination. However, I found that when you take the leaves from the strawberries, and dehydrate them, you can brew tea from that! The strawberry leaf tea tastes mildly herbaceous, which would help temper the sweetness of this dessert without overwhelming it. Since fresh strawberry leaves have toxins in them, either roasting them in the oven, or cooking them in the microwave kill those, allowing the leaves to be brewed into a tea with little to any real problems. The strawberry jam and mascarpone mousse are relatively standard, though in place of cocoa powder, I went with melting Valrhona’s Strawberry Inspiration chocolate, mixing that with tapioca maltodextrin, and creating this powder I would dust the tops with. Alternatively, you can use crushed freeze-dried strawberries, which can be purchased at Trader Joe’s!

For the tea:
a loose 1/4 cup of fresh strawberry leaves
1/2 cup warm water
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon elderflower liquor

Microwave the leaves for 1 minute. Alternatively, bake them at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. You’ll know when they are done once the leaves are almost crunchy to the touch(think fallen autumn leaves). Place into the warm water with salt and allow that to sit together for at least 10 minutes. Strain and mix into the liquid your elderflower liquor to finish.

For the cake:
2 egg whites
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In a bowl, whip the egg whites with half of the sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix together the egg yolk with the remaining sugar and salt, slowly streaming in both the canola oil and milk until everything is properly mixed together. Sift the flour and baking powder. Fold everything together, and spread the batter onto a lined half-sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to fully cool before trimming.

For the jam:
1/2 cup diced strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Bring all of your ingredients to a simmer and cook until the berries are completely soft and the liquid is thick enough to generously coat the back of a spoon. Pour into a container and allow it to cool down before attempting to use.

For the mousse:
1/4 teaspoon gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon elderflower liquor
8oz mascarpone cheese

Mix gelatin with water. Place with the salt and milk into a pot and bring to a simmer. Temper with the egg yolk, and whisk on low heat for 3 minutes. Strain out lumps and mix in the vanilla, elderflower, and softened mascarpone cheese to finish.

For the powder:
3 pieces of Strawberry Inspiration Couverture
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup tapioca maltodextrin

Melt the Strawberry Inspiration. Mix with salt and maltodextrin to form your powder.

To assemble:
Start with soaking your cake pieces, and then placing jam and cream between them. Dust with the powder to finish.

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