A traditional tiramisu is a “pick me up” because ladyfingers are soaked in an espresso mixture before being layered together with rich cream and more ladyfingers. This is not your traditional tiramisu, but it is still a great way to end a meal – especially if you’re celebrating particularly festive occasion. My Dessert Wine and Raspberry Tiramisu is made by dipping ladyfingers in a sweet dessert wine to infuse them with flavor. They are then layered with an airy vanilla-scented mascarpone cream and fresh raspberries. It’s a dessert that both looks and tastes like it belongs on the table at a special occasion.
Dessert wines are a broad category of wines that include port and other fortified wines. For this dessert, you want to choose a very sweet, slightly syrupy white wine for the best results. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to be be sweet, even if you aren’t usually a drinker of sweet dessert wines. White dessert wines include rieslings and “late harvest” wines (late harvest chardonnay is fairly common), as well as ice wines and Sauternes. I used an inexpensive bottle of dessert wine from Trader Joe’s for this particular batch of tiramisu.
These sweet white wines often taste like apples, pears, apricots and honey, so the fresh raspberries in the tiramisu add a pop of tartness that contrasts very well with the wine. Although you need quite a bit of wine to dip your ladyfingers, you’re not going to get a lot of wine in each serving of the finished dessert. Overall, it’s a refreshing change of pace from the flavors that you find in a traditional tiramisu – and a delicious new way to enjoy a dessert wine.
I always try to find fresh raspberries to work with, but frozen berries will work if you thaw and drain them before adding them into the recipe. The only substantial difference is that they might bleed a bit of juice and turn some of your cream a light pink color as you spread it into the pan. This is a dessert that can be prepared well in advance, as it will keep in the refrigerator for at least two days before serving if you need it to. It can also be made just a few hours before you want to serve it.
Dessert Wine and Raspberry Tiramisu
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups dessert wine
18 oz fresh raspberries
approx 36 ladyfingers (depending on size)
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and well-combined.
In another large bowl, beat whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Take out a 9×13-inch baking dish for building the tiramisu.
Pour dessert wine into a shallow bowl. Dip each ladyfinger into the dessert wine for 3-5 seconds, turning it to coat it evenly. The ladyfinger should be quite moist, but not so saturated that it falls apart. Place ladyfingers in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.
Top the layer of ladyfingers with half of the raspberries.
Spread half of the cream mixture over the ladyfingers and raspberries, making sure the cream goes all the way to the sides of the pan.
Repeat process with remaining ladyfingers, raspberries and cream. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving and garnish with additional raspberries, if desired.