Tiramisu taste off

I had some left over mascarpone cheese in my fridge from the clotted cream taste test that I did a couple weeks ago. There is no way that I am going to let a tub of mascarpone cheese go bad so I started to think of ways that I could use it up. The first thing that came to mind was tiramisu. I hardly ever buy mascarpone cheese and I don’t make tiramisu that often. In fact, I have never made tiramisu so I figured this would be a great opportunity to learn something new.

Mascarpone cheese is a rich, soft cheese that is made from cream. It has a thick, luxurious texture and slightly sweet taste. It also boasts a whopping 35% milk fat (similar to whipping cream). This is definitely the type of cheese to use when making dessert!

I also happened to have the new Looneyspoons Collection cookbook that I signed out from the library. I love the Podleski sisters! I was a big fan of their show “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry” that was on the Food Network. They would do side-by-side taste tests comparing traditional recipes to the lower fat, healthier recipes from their book. Kinda like what I’m doing now, ironic isn’t it?

In their new cookbook they have a recipe for Tir-rific Tiramisu Trifle – a tiramisu where they substitute ricotta cheese, light cream cheese, vanilla yogurt and gelatin instead of mascarpone. My first though was “Wow, that sure is a long list of ingredients to mimic mascarpone!” But all of those ingredients contain at least half the amount of fat so I wondered if the substitutions were worth it.

Bottom line is that both desserts are still going to be a rich, higher fat dessert but I really wondered if the lower fat version could beat out the traditional recipe. And maybe you can feel a little more saintly for going with a light tiramisu. Or maybe you have yogurt, part-skim ricotta and light cream cheese in your fridge and not mascarpone so making a lighter tiramisu on a whim wouldn’t be a bad idea?

I had my fellow taste testers true two types of tiramisu: A full fat version from the Joy of Cooking and a lighter version from the Looneyspoons Collections cookbook. I have posted both recipes (and my observations apprehensions) in the following post.

My taste testers reported that both tiramisus tasted great but the one made with mascarpone had the true richness and flavour or tiramisu. They said that the lighter version tasted good but wasn’t as rich and you could definitely taste the cream cheese flavour. Some taste testers said that if an alternative other than cream cheese could be used (so as not to over power the flavour) that it might be a good contender against regular tiramisu.

Despite that, I have to say that the Tir-riffic Tiramisu Trifle is a good recipe that tastes great. It might not be totally healthy but it is a lighter versions for people who are interested in eating healthier and the book offers a great assortment of recipes for that.

Although their lighter version wasn’t able to beat the original version (which is often difficult to do) it was a pretty good alternative. It’s a tasty take on tiramisu but the combination of yogurt, part-skim ricotta and light cream cheese proved to be a bit too tangy for most of the taste testers.

What can I say? It’s hard to beat mascarpone.