I’m a late planner when it comes to holiday cooking. Most of the time it’s only because I don’t ever know what exactly to cook. I can never make up my mind because I hate the idea of picking the wrong dish. So what ends up happening is that when I finally do decide upon something, it’s rather late so I’m rushing at the last minute in the kitchen running around like a crazy person. Or sometimes I end up not making anything festive at all. So here I am today, the Friday before the big day, sharing this last minute Valentine’s Day recipe with all of the last minute planners out there. I know I can’t be the only one out there like this. Tell me I’m not alone! So just in case there are a few more of me out there, I thought it would be a great idea to share these Strawberry Balsamic Tiramisu Trifles.
Every year, I try to make sure to post a Valentine’s Day recipe so that you have something to fall back on if you can’t find the perfect gift. A homemade gift always means so much more than something you can buy from a store. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic at heart so I like to make sure I have all the lovers and romantics covered. If you’re in need of more Valentine’s inspiration (I have been doing this for a while, you know), these Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches are here to save the day. The ice cream is a no-churn recipe, so fear not. Why not give these Pistachio Eclairs a try? They’re a great twist to a classic Valentine’s Recipe. And if you’re still not convinced, these Chocolate Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes are sure to prove to your love just how much you care!
On a somewhat unrelated side note: A few months back I signed up for an olive oil club, where they send me a bottle of olive oil, a bottle of vinegar and a small misc. item (like a seasoning mix, or spiced nuts) each month. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Every month the oil and vinegar are different and the flavors are incredible. The best so far have been a strawberry balsamic vinegar and a basil olive oil, both of which are used in this recipe. They enhance the flavor incredibly, but are not extremely necessary. I love pouring the strawberry balsamic over the basil olive oil and then dipping bread into it as a snack with some wine and cheese and crackers. Best. Snack. Ever. I also received a red currant balsamic vinegar once that was to die for. If you’re interested in the learning more about the club, I highly recommend it. It’s called Global Gardens and it’s based out of Los Olivos (Santa Ynez, CA area). If you’re ever in that area, they do olive oil tastings and it’s a lot of fun! This isn’t an ad, they haven’t paid me for this, and I’m not getting a kickback, I assure you. I’m just a really big fan!
I love this dessert, primarily because it’s an easy no-bake dessert and any chance I get to not turn on my oven and slave away for hours, is the greatest day ever. So the hardest thing you’ll do for this recipe is wait for it to chill in the fridge for a few hours before eating.
Toss together the sliced strawberries with sugar, strawberry balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic) and basil olive oil. You can make your own by heating the olive oil with sliced basil over low heat for about 10 minutes, straining out the basil and then letting it cool down.
**Note: Add anywhere between 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar to the strawberries, depending on how ripe or sweet your berries are or depending on how sweet you like your desserts. My mamma doesn’t like super sweet desserts, so I’ll tend to add less sugar when making something for her. Julian likes sweet so I’ll add more.**
Beat the heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Then fold in the mascarpone cheese until somewhat smooth.
**Tip: Use a rubber spatula when folding in the mascarpone and make sure to not over-mix because you’ll deflate the cream and then turn the mixture to butter consistency.**
Layer the cream, lady fingers (traditional tiramisu cookies), and marinated strawberries into small trifle dishes, alternating the ingredients into layers and finishing off with the cream.
**Note: You can also make this into one large trifle instead of the mini individual servings. If you don’t have a trifle dish, use small ramekins or a square 9 by 9-inch baking dish!**
Dust the tops with unsweetened cocoa powder using a fine mesh strainer. Make sure to cover the tops completely with the cocoa. This is an optional step but I like adding it for that final layer of flavor and because it’s a traditional tiramisu step.
**Note: Make sure you use unsweetened cocoa powder, because the sweetness from the berries and the cream will offset it nicely. If you use sweetened cocoa powder, it might be too sweet.**
Place the trifles in the fridge and let chill for at least 3 hours before serving. This will allow them to set and let the berries infuse the lady fingers. I know that 3 hours is a long time to wait, but trust me, it’ll ensure that the tiramisu be the perfect texture. (P.S. if you really can’t wait, 2 hours will be fine. Wink wink).
Serve the trifles straight from the fridge with a bit more cocoa powder on top if it absorbs into the tiramisu, and place a small strawberry on top for garnish (if you’re feeling fancy).
If you really want to add a bit more flavor to this tiramisu, try mixing in a splash or two of marsala wine or triple sec to the strawberries. The bit of alcohol will enhance the flavor of the berries and improve the overall taste.
If you want to make this a day or two in advance, you can! Just leave out the cocoa powder and cover the trifles with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and then right before serving, dust with cocoa powder. The longer the trifles sit, the better tasting they become. It’s a great make ahead dessert.
Even if you already have your Valentine’s Day dessert (or desserts, the more the merrier) planned out, then I hope you’ll still give this recipe a try sometime soon. If you’re a fan of tiramisu then you’ll love this new twist. Or if you’re like me and are not a coffee drinker, then you’ll most definitely love this flavor! Happy Valentine’s Day!
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
- 1 tablespoon strawberry balsamic vinegar (or regular)
- 1 tablespoon basil olive oil (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (12-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
- 2 (4.5-ounce) packages lady fingers (soft or dry)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- In a medium bowl, toss together the sliced strawberries, with the sugar, balsamic vinegar and oil until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Using a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream on high until foamy. Add the powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, continue to beat until soft peaks form. Add in the mascarpone and fold with a rubber spatula until evenly combined.
- To assemble the trifles, spoon a bit of the cream onto the bottom of each mini trifle dish or one large trifle dish. Cut the lady fingers in half and arrange them in a single layer on top of the cream. Spoon a bit of the strawberries (with their juice) on top and then another layer of cream. Repeat with another layer of cookies, strawberries and finish off with a layer of cream, smoothing out as much as possible. Dust the tops with cocoa powder, using a fine mesh strainer. Place in the fridge and let chill for at least 3 hours. Serve chilled. Trifles will keep wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Yield: 6 small trifles