Last week I, A FOOD OBSESSION, had my first POP UP Dinner and I hope it’s not my last. It was an amazing amount of fun, anxiety, great kitchen work, planning and working with some great people. Through a Facebook food group I’m in, the MERRICK GIRLS WEEKNIGHT RECIPES group, my blog and my posts became known to the owner and chef of a Merrick, Long Island NY restaurant beautifully located on the water, ANCHOR DOWN SEAFOOD BAR AND GRILLE. Chef Stephen Rosenbluth and his wife Jennifer had the idea to have me come to their restaurant on a Sunday night, create a special menu showcasing my recipes that I would cook with his wonderful kitchen staff and serve to members of the group. FANTASTIC!!! It would so much fun meeting all these people I’ve been in the group with for the last 2 years as well. So I came up with a seafood menu and somehow it just evolved into a celebration of my Sicilian heritage. Now TIRAMISU is hardly Sicilian. It’s a Northern Italian creation most likely from the late 60’s -80’s up in the northern province of VENETO. It’s said to be derived from the more traditional Zuppa Inglese layered dessert once very popular throughout Italy. Growing up there was no TiraMiSu’, which translates as PICK ME UP alluding to the Espresso which is the main flavor in the dessert. I remember Zupp’Inglese as a child but no TiraMiSu’ which is historically correct. America started seeing this dessert in the early 80’s or so and it took off. If you tell me that as an ItalianAmerican in the NYC area you knew what Mascarpone Cheese was before the arrival of TiraMiSu in the 80’s i say…i don’t think so. LOL.. TiraMiSu took over as the standard offering in all the Italian American and Italian restaurants in the USA. It’s everywhere now. Some versions good, some not so good. It’s an Italian Crisp LadyFinger (called SAVOIARDI) layer, soaked in Espresso and sometimes a Liquore, then layered with an egg enriched Mascarpone and Whipped Cream layer, scented with Vanilla. There’s some unsweetened cocoa dusted over the top and it’s chilled and sets up beautifully. But let’s get back to what it’s doing here in my Sicilian PopUp. I thought I’d play on the idea of a traditional Tiramisu but make it SICILIAN and a nice light ending to the meal. I made a basic cannoli cream and added that to a wine glass. The Savoiardi were only 1/2 dipped into a syrup we made with Espresso, sugar, Marsala, Orange Peel. All Sicilian flavors. The LadyFinger was place into the cream with the dry end up. A drizzle of the syrup…a grating of Orange zest and a cherry completed the dessert. Sicily in a cup…deconstructing a classic Northern dessert. I think you have the idea now and you will want to make this for a party or dinner. Let’s make CANNOLI TIRAMISU’!!
for 8 servings…have 8 stemmed glassed
takes..about 5 hours (not because it’s difficult, but the cream should be made at least 5 hours and chilled before making the dessert, overnight is best)
3 cups of drained RICOTTA pressed thru a sieve, or 3 cups of Impastata Ricotta.
To drain wrap into a cheesecloth and hang over your kitchen faucet with a bowl underneath it. This is the difference between the texture of Pastry shop Cannoli cream and loose runny homemade cannoli cream. It’s worth the extra work.
1 drop CINAMMON OIL, or 1 TSP. GROUND CINNAMON
1/4 CUP SEMI SWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1 CUP SIFTED CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR
1/2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
8 IMPORTED ITALIAN SAVOIARDI (LADY FINGERS)
3 TSP. ORANGE ZEST
8 CHERRIES, GLACE’, CANDIED, or MARASCHINO (DRAINED AND BLOTTED)
Using a mixer beat the cheese till smooth. Add the cinnamon and the vanilla. Beat till blended in. Now add the sugar slowly and when all incorporated raise the speed and beat until it’s smooth and no lumps are present.Fold in the Chip. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
2 CUPS STRONG BLACK ESPRESSO
2 STRIPS ORANGE PEEL
JUICE OF ONE ORANGE
1/2 CUP MARSALA
3/4 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
WHISK together in a saucepan till the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange peel. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until it’s reduced by almost 40%. Let cool.
Now add a small amount of the syrup to the bottom of the 8 glasses. Into each glass fill 1/3 of the way with the cannoli cream. One by one, dip 1/2 of the SAVOIARDI into the Syrup and let the excess run back into the pan. Now place it into the glass on top of the cream. When finished with all 8, garnish with a drizzle of the syrup, divide the orange zest over the 8 cups, and add a cherry to finish.Now serve!! It’s a tiramisu’ idea with the flavors of Sicily…who doesn’t love CANNOLI???? The happy diners at the PopUp all enjoyed their desserts. It was a pleasure cooking with Chef Rosenbluth and staff and a pleasure working with and finally meeting the Girls of the Merrick Girls Weeknight Recipe Facebook Group. You can find the group and join it on Facebook at :
And you can dine at ANCHOR DOWN SEAFOOD BAR AND GRILLE in Merrick LI :
Tell Chef Stephen, Jennifer, Chef Jason and Murph, Christian, Bev, and Megan you read about them on my blog!!!