Tiramisu in a Jar


My local paper had a recipe for little tiramisu sundaes a few weeks ago. They suggested freezing the cream layer in an ice cream maker, and serving them in tall sundae glasses. Which I don’t have.   I thought of doing them in fancy coffee cups with gold rims, which I do have. But we were having a backyard barbecue, so I decided that would be too fancy, and canning jars would be about perfect.

Tiramisu is a yummy pick me up which I wind up eating only rarely, which is probably good, because it’s mostly cream, alcohol and coffee. My local pizza place stocks it, and I occasionally get one there, but it is usually more expensive than the whole rest of my lunch.

The cake- recipes call for lady fingers, which are sponge cake-type cookies. I couldn’t find lady fingers at King Soopers, so I though maybe angel food cake, which they have had regularly all summer- no, not anymore. So, I made a sponge cake using a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cook book, which is my go-to cookbook for basic stuff. I let it cool on a rack, then sliced it into chunks. Since it is going into jars, it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty.

skip this step if you can find ladyfingers.

The mascarpone- this is also impossible to find in King Soopers. However, it is pretty easy to make. Heat up whipping cream in a double boiler to 180 degrees, add lemon juice, stir a bit, turn off the heat, pour it into a coffee filter-lined strainer and chill. When I make this again, I might just use Greek yogurt, or strained yogurt, because that is pretty much what this is.  It would also be lower fat. I used a pint of whipped cream, and wound up pouring off about ½ cup of whey.

The custard- There are a lot of short cuts on the internet about the cream filling, but I kind of like making custard- it’s alchemical…my friend Michele and I used to make homemade chocolate pudding in college, dunk chunks of French bread and sour apple slices in it. I always liked making it, liked stirring it to thicken. So, I made homemade custard, using a recipe for Creme Anglaise I found in Ratio (a book I highly recommend)http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_7_5?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ratios+cookbook&sprefix=ratio  I used 2 cups of 1% milk and 4 egg yolks, ½ cup sugar and a vanilla bean. It didn’t thicken a whole lot, and once mixed with the mascarpone, it was really loose. Once it chilled, though it thickened up nicely.

The coffee- I used 2 packets of Via, which is Starbucks’ instant coffee product, and about half a cup of apricot brandy and ½ cup of hot water. I had bought the instant coffee before we went on vacation, and didn’t use it all. If I hadn’t had it, I would have just brewed some strong coffee. You can leave out the alcohol, or use Kahlua or some other flavor.


 I laid out 8 ounce canning jars, but it would look more generous in 4 oz.

Most recipes I found called for dipping the sponge cake or cookies in the coffee mixture.

I decided it would be easier to put some cake chunks in the bottom of the jars, assembly line style, spoon on coffee, then spoon in cream. Then, more chunks, more coffee, more cream. I had barely enough cream for 1 dozen jars, and just the right amount of cake. In the future, I’d make more of the cream mixture- maybe with a quart of yogurt for the mascarpone part, and 3 cups of milk for the custard.

midway through, I ran out of coffee, and had to make another cup


They seemed popular at the party- everyone exclaimed over how cute they were, which is part of the goal for this kind of thing. There were also some left over, and I have been enjoying them on my own.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. CultureChoc2010
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 22:29:58

    Looks delicious!


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