(NAPS)-Italian desserts are notable for indulgent ingredients that provide much pleasure. Many believe the most popular of these is tiramisu, a layered dessert, usually made by combining ladyfinger biscuits, espresso, cream or Mascarpone cheese and flavorings. Today, variations abound, including those with chocolate and fruit such as berries or cherries.
Yield: 9 servings
2 jars (10 oz. each) Maraschino cherries
2 cartons (8 oz. each) Mascarpone cheese
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Amaretto or brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1⁄2 cup water
42 crisp ladyfinger cookies
2 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 oz. each) grated into chocolate curls
Drain cherries, reserving juice and 9 cherries; set aside. Chop remaining cherries.
In a large bowl, combine the cheese, sugar, Amaretto, vanilla and 1 tablespoon cherry juice. In another bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; gently fold into cheese mixture.
Combine water and remaining cherry juice. Arrange 14 ladyfingers in an ungreased 9-inch-square pan. Brush with 3⁄4 cup cherry juice mixture. Spread 11⁄3 cups cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Sprinkle with half of the chopped cherries and grated chocolate. Repeat layers.
Top with remaining ladyfingers and cheese mixture. Garnish with chocolate curls and reserved cherries. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.