My mission in the kitchen is to see how maple syrup can be used in everyday cooking where the maple makes for better or sometimes just different results. In all honesty, for some recipes the maple flavor is not discernible and I revert back to plain sugar. For some dishes the maple syrup makes the recipe infinitely better. This is one of those cases. This pastry is not only my favorite discovery of this season, it is possible I have found my Kryptonite.
My experience with Tiramisu is mostly from my days living in New York City. Little Italy still has a few cafes that make authentic Italian pastries and Tiramisu is a treat that you don’t find standard in many other places. The recipe consists of lady fingers (a type of Italian biscuit) soaked in coffee and liqueur and then sandwiched in layers of vanilla pastry cream. The pastry cream is made with Mascarpone, an Italian dairy product that is sort of like sour cream without being sour. The whole thing is topped with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.
Recently, I was in our local market and spotted a tub of Mascarpone made by Vermont’s renown Vermont Creamery. Lordy, I wish I hadn’t. The Mascarpone inspired me to try a Tiramisu that substituted a maple cream for the vanilla cream. It turned out well. Really, really well. I ate it for breakfast five days in a row. It is possible I might have also had it for dessert on those nights. My husband can tell you that for a food-obsessed person, I don’t actually eat that much. I ate all of this.
In the interest of not having to buy all new pants the next size up, all future production of this recipe in my house is going to be strictly regulated. But I highly recommend you try it yourself. I used rum with the coffee since rum and maple are so complimentary. The Mascarpone and lady fingers may be challenging to find, but if I could source them here in a rural area, you have a good shot in your local store. The Mascarpone from Vermont Creamery made for the most delicate, lovely pastry cream so if it is available in your area use it. I would try the recipe with other Mascarpones to compare but bathing suit season is just around the corner and I have come to terms with the fact that Maple Tiramisu is stronger than me.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup Sugarmaker’s Cut Pure Maple Syrup 
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 8 oz Mascarpone (we suggest VT Creamery), room temperature
- ½ cup strong coffee
- ¼ cup rum
- 7 0z package of Italian ladyfingers
- Cocoa for dusting
- Shaved chocolate
Put egg yolks, maple syrup, heavy cream and cornstarch in a pot or over a double boiler. If using a pot, turn the heat on low, if using a double boiler, bring the water to a simmer. Whisk the mixture constantly for about 8 – 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken (temperature should be around 160). Remove from the heat immediately and let cool. Blend in the mascarpone and set aside.
Take a 9” bread pan and line it with plastic wrap, using two sheets if necessary to cover all surfaces and allowing about 4” to come over the sides. Combine the rum and coffee in a shallow dish. Take the lady fingers and dunk them, one at a time in the coffee-rum liquid. Coat both sides but don’t let them sit in the liquid or they will become too saturated fall apart. Line the bottom of the pan with the soaked biscuits, breaking them into smaller sizes to fill in empty spaces. Pour a third of the maple cream over the lady fingers. Repeat with another layer of rum-coffee soaked biscuits and then another layer of cream. Make a third layer of each, ending with maple cream.
Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. When ready to serve, take the pan out of the fridge. Have a plate ready and gently lift the pastry out of the pan using the plastic lining. Place the Tiramisu on the plate and peel the plastic back from the edges so the cake is standing on its own. Dust with a little cocoa powder and garnish with some dark chocolate shavings. Serves 4-8 people or just one if I am around.