By The Spoonful


Simple Cherry Tiramisu

This recipe was created to pair well with a Cabernet Sauvignon, a great after-dinner duo. Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-flavored tannic red wine that is often paired with spicy grilled or roasted red meats and/or hearty dark rich sauce dishes. I, going for the unconventional, wanted to pair a good Cab with a dessert.

I’m not sure what process wine experts and chefs go through when they pair foods with wines. For me, I have come up with three different methods. The first way: I think to myself, “What would pair well with this wine?” I kid-you-not, an idea just pops into my head and the flavor I want the dish to embody literally fills my mouth. It’s like magic! I then do a bit of research to see if the flavors I want in my dish have ever been paired with the wine of choice, or if my flavor profile is at least close to the norm. If so, then I know I’m on the right track. If not, I pray no one will think I’m crazy and my pairing choice is still enjoyable.

My second method is to consider the flavor notes of the wine. With all food/wine pairings my primary goal is to have the wine’s notes enhance the flavor of the dish. So, with my second method I turn to wine tasting experts and use their tasting note descriptions as a guideline. When I follow this second method I take a few flavor notes that pop out at me and build a recipe that has similar flavors. This way I feel more secure that others will find my food/wine pairing acceptable.

The third method, my last resort method, is doing a little research on what is traditionally paired with the wine of choice. In the case of Cabernet Sauvignon, steaks with a horseradish sauce, any dish where beefy mushrooms are the star, or hearty, meaty lasagna are often chosen. I often have a large glass of Cab with my from-scratch Lasagna al Forno (recipe coming soon). After my food/wine pairing research, I choose one menu idea and turn it into my own creation. Sometimes it may be a flavor concept I want to recreate. For example: maybe I’d take the concept of pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with meaty lasagna. What I might do instead is make a hearty marinara sauce and have it be a dipping sauce for fried meat filled ravioli.

However, I used my second method to pair a dessert with Cabernet Sauvignon. Most Cabs have flavor notes of cherry, blackberry, currant, tobacco, coffee, mocha, mint, tea and bell pepper. Did any flavor notes pop out at you? For me it was cherry and coffee. A coffee-flavored dessert, hmmm……? Tiramisu! I decided to pair a sweet cherry tiramisu with a tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. For those of you non-wino’s, tannic wines will cut down the sweetness of a dish. So a super sweet dessert will be leveled out to a simple sweet dessert when a tannic wine is consumed alongside.

I wanted my tiramisu to be a layered individual dessert parfait, so I layered a coffee-flavored ricotta cream filling with shortbread cookie crumbs and cherry pie filling. I used ricotta verses a cream cheese base in my filling because it’s the traditional tiramisu ingredient. To achieve the coffee flavor in the ricotta filling I used Kahlua. Hey! You’re already drinking wine, what’s a bit more alcohol going to hurt! I topped each tiramisu parfait with a stemmed maraschino cherry and garnished with grated dark chocolate.

They were a hit! So a sweet dessert can be paired with a tannic wine such as Cabernet. It may be unconventional, but sometimes I’m not the one for predictable outcomes. Enjoy my version of cherry tiramisu and eat it by the spoonful!

Individual Cherry Tiramisu

by By The Spoonful


Makes 4-6 Desserts

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup coffee liqueur such as Kahlua
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2 cups shortbread cookies, crumbled
  • 1 (21oz.) can cherry pie filling
  • dark chocolate, grated
  • maraschino cherries with stems

In a large mixing bowl mix together ricotta, powdered sugar, sour cream, liqueur and instant coffee with an electric mixer.

Spoon ¼ cup ricotta mixture into small decorative clear serving dishes, sprinkle 2-3 Tbsp. of cookie crumbs and spoon 2 Tbsp. cherry pie filling. Repeat as needed finishing with a small dollop of ricotta on top.

Garnish with Grated chocolate. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

*May increase amount of instant coffee if you prefer a strong coffee flavored dessert.

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One Response to “Simple Cherry Tiramisu”

  1. Joe says:

    Easy to understand,I like it!