strawberry basil tiramisu | cooks in the kitchen challenge

When I bake for myself, I made chocolate.  Or use chocolate, rather.  Someday I would love to go to chocolate-making school.  But that’s later.  Much later.  Anyway, chocolate is usually my dessert of choice: chocolate chip cookies, triple chocolate torte, white chocolate cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie pie….you get the idea.



But every so often, I like to try something new and different – mostly for the sake of company and impressing people.  I’d be lying if I said that making impressive things didn’t bring me joy.  Plus, I just really, really like baking.  Either that or I just really, really like wearing aprons and I’d feel silly if I were wearing an apron and not standing in front of a KitchenAid.  I haven’t decided which yet.  This is definitely one of those new and different things.  And it definitely makes an impression!  I’m so glad it worked out because it could have been a terrible failure and put me off of strawberries and tiramisu forever and probably ruined any chance we had of making friends.  Well, probably not tiramisu since it’s one of my favorites but definitely strawberries since I don’t really like them to begin with and definitely basil.  And most likely no one would ever come to dinner at our house ever again.  Yeesh.  There was a lot riding on this poor dessert but it definitely stood up to the challenge and then some!


Strawberry-basil just seems like the weirdest combination of flavors.  Throw in a little cinnamon and some mascarpone and you’ve got yourself and heck of a mixture.  Ya – I’m just as baffled as you are about how that makes tastebud heaven.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous about a dessert, either.  Whew.


I can’t say that this is something that will become part of our regular repertoire (there is no chocolate….) but if you’re wanting to get fancy and impress some company with an amazingly glorious summer dessert, then this is without a doubt the recipe for you!  Husband was blown away and said it was the absolute perfect thing to have after a cookout.  Which sounds to me like a perfect July 4th dessert…So, then again, maybe it will become part of our usual line-up.  Good thing there’s a strawberry patch down the road!


strawberry basil tiramisu

baker’s note: the basil flavor is stronger than you’d think so feel free to cut down on the basil if you want. This is just how we like it and this recipe is worth all of the steps. I promise. Need something to do with the leftover egg whites? Make macarons!

1 pkg ladyfingers, split lengthwise

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C grand marnier

basil custard:
1 C chopped fresh basil
2/3 C whole milk
6 egg yolks
3/4 C pure-cane white sugar

mascarpone cream:
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1. In medium bowl, toss together strawberries, 1/4 C sugar, cinnamon, and grand marnier. Set aside
2. In medium saucepan, whisk together milk and chopped basil and heat over medium-low until just before boiling. Strain the basil from the milk and discard the leaves. Set the milk aside.
3. In the saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth. Stir in the milk from step two and heat on medium-low until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly.
4. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes and keep stirring! Remove from heat and let cool.
5. Beat cream on high until soft peaks form. Gently stir in vanilla and mascarpone until combined. Set aside.
6. Now that you have all of the mixtures ready, you can start assembly:
a. Arrange ladyfingers across the bottom of a 9×13 pan, cut side up.
b. Top with half of the strawberry mixture, making sure to allow the ladyfingers to soak up the grand marnier.
c. Spread half of the basil custard on top.
d. Evenly spread half of the mascarpone cream on top of that.
e. repeat steps a-d until you’re out of stuff.
7. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
8. Enjoy!


If you’re looking for more strawberry yumminess, check out these recipes:

strawberries & cream cupcakes  |  strawberry galette with champagne cream

Here are the previous months’ challenges:

semi-sweet chocolate | lime | spinach


And don’t forget to check out the other amazing desserts on the challenge!