Growing up in the 1980s, tiramisu was ubiquitous at dinner parties and on restaurant menus. And I consumed my share of them. (With a Shirley Temple in my other hand, of course. I wanted a “drink” like the adults.) But in the intervening decades, my parents rarely ordered or prepared the Italian dessert – they were turned on to (and, hence, turned off by) the raw eggs and copious of heavy cream and mascarpone. These days, I don’t come upon tiramisu often but when I do, I can’t deny a few bites of the Italian-American favorite.
I can’t recall with certainty how or when I dreamt up this recipe. I was thinking about tiramisu – and thinking that my husband doesn’t share my affinity for coffee and liquer-infused desserts. Feeling (momentarily) indifferent about typical American dessert flavors, this idea was conceived. Here, the ladyfingers are soaked in sweetened green tea and sandwiched between rich mascarpone cheese and nutty, sweet red bean paste. Matcha powder is sifted between layers and atop the dessert as both a bitter counterpoint to the sweetened layers and as a garnish.
How was it, you ask? The texture of the dessert is much like a traditional tiramisu – creamy with a softened, moist cake layer. There is a richness and creaminess from the mascarpone, a nutty sweetness from the adzuki bean paste, and a slightly bitter (but refreshing) contrast from the green tea. Frankly, if you enjoy the flavors of green tea and red bean you’ll find this delightful – and addicting. If the flavors aren’t your cup of tea (ha!), may I suggest lemon, strawberry, vanilla, or chocolate for your sweet tooth?
Matcha Tiramisu with Adzuki Red Bean and Mascarpone, from Rice Kernel’s kitchen
1 cup boiling water + 1 tbsp macha powder + sugar (to taste).
16 Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers)
Matcha powder for dusting
1 cup (1/2 pound) mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese, or vegan cream cheese)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp matcha powder for dusting
1/2 cup adzuki bean paste (thinned with a few tablespoons of water)
- Beat cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in mascarpone.
- Pour 1 tbsp matcha and water mixture in a shallow bowl.
- Dip both sides of half of the ladyfingers in the espresso and use them to line the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish. Dust the ladyfingers with matcha powder.
- Spoon a third of the adzuki bean pasta atop the ladyfingers and spread in a smooth, even layer. Follow with the mascarpone mixture. Repeat with ladyfingers, adzuki, and mascarpone. (End with the mascarpone.)
- Cover and refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, sift the matcha powder over the top of the tiramisu.
Note: Tiramisu can be refrigerated up to 2 days.