Culinary SOS: Cayenne Café's citrus tiramisu

Culinary SOS: Cayenne Café's citrus tiramisu
Cayenne Cafe's citrus tiramisu. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS:

I just got home from our neighborhood restaurant,


, on Beverly Boulevard. We go there a lot, as it is close by, the food is always good and the staff is very friendly. We never usually get dessert. However, it was our friend's birthday, so we decided to splurge. We ordered two, first their carrot cake, which was very good, with cream cheese frosting and a caramel sauce. My husband doesn't like tiramisu because it is made with coffee, and he doesn't like cold coffee. But their citrus tiramisu was absolutely delicious. We were all licking the plate. It was one of the most delicious and unique dishes we have had in a long time. It was light and moist, and I would love to have the recipe to be able to make it during the summer.

Judy Hollander

Los Angeles

Dear Judy:

We loved the fresh, bright, lemony notes in Cayenne Cafe's version of the classic Italian dessert tiramisu, or "pick me up."

Cayenne Cafe's citrus tiramisu

Total time:

1 hour, plus chilling time


8 to 12


Adapted from Cayenne Cafe on Beverly Boulevard

Lemon custard

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

3 eggs

Juice of 3 lemons

1 1/2 cups milk

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large,

heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and eggs. Whisk in the lemon juice, then the milk. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens (it should coat the back of the spoon). Remove from heat and strain into a bowl set over a bowl of ice water. Stir until cool, then stir in the rum and vanilla. This makes a generous 2 cups of custard. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Ladyfinger syrup

3 cups water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons rum

In a large saucepan,

combine the water and sugar over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Cool completely.

Whipped cream with mascarpone

1 pint whipping cream

4 ounces mascarpone

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl,

whip together the cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla until firm. This makes 4 cups whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Tiramisu assembly

1 1/2 packages ladyfingers (about 3 dozen)

Ladyfinger syrup

Lemon custard

Whipped cream with mascarpone

Chocolate sauce, if desired, for garnish

1. Assemble the first layer

of ladyfingers: Dip ladyfingers in syrup, one at a time, and place in a single layer on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish (or 10-by-8-inch dish). Cover the layer with half the custard.

2. Repeat

with a second layer of ladyfingers, then top with the remaining custard.

3. Form a third

and final layer of ladyfingers, then smooth over half of the whipped cream with mascarpone.

4. Refrigerate

the tiramisu overnight to allow the flavors to be absorbed and marry. Serve each slice with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a dollop of the flavored whipped cream, if desired.

Each of 12 servings:

414 calories; 8 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 24 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 189 mg cholesterol; 19 grams sugar; 100 mg sodium.


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