Tiramisù is a classic Italian dessert, but there is nothing classic about my recipe, which is served in clean flower pots and topped with edible soil and chocolate herbs. The soil is delicious (caramelised white chocolate tastes like Caramac bars) and kids love it because eating it looks so wrong but it tastes so right!
For the crystallised dark chocolate
- 200 g white caster sugar
- 80 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
For the caramelised Grape Nuts
- 50 g Grape Nuts cereal
- ¼ tsp salt
- 15 g brown sugar
To finish the soil
- 60 g white chocolate
- 20 g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 ml hazelnut oil
For the dark chocolate layers
- 250 g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
For the Marsala cream
- 3 large eggs
- 50 g unrefined caster sugar
- 300 g mascarpone
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 60 ml Marsala
- 1.5 g leaf gelatine, softened in a little cold water
For the sponge fingers
- 24 sponge fingers
- 150 ml ground coffee brewed in 400 ml water
- 100 ml Marsala
- basil and mint leaves, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Freezing time 10 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours
For the crystallised dark chocolate, put 75 ml cold tap water and the sugar into a saucepan and place the pan over a high heat. Bring to the boil and continue to heat until the temperature of the liquid reaches 135ºC or until the syrup at the side of the pan begins to colour.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Whisk to incorporate the chocolate and continue to whisk until the liquid has completely crystallised.
Pour the chocolate crystals onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool. This can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To caramelise the Grape Nuts, place the cereal in a frying pan over a high heat and allow to toast for approximately 4 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Add the salt and continue to toast for an additional minute.
Sprinkle the sugar over the surface of the Grape Nuts and stir with a spatula until the surface of the Grape Nuts is well caramelised.
Pour the caramelised Grape Nuts on to a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool at room temperature. Roughly chop and set aside.
To caramelise the white chocolate, preheat the oven to 190ºC/gas mark 5. Place the white chocolate on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, begin to stir the chocolate every couple of minutes until fully caramelised.
Mix the crystallised dark chocolate and caramelised white chocolate with the cocoa powder and chopped caramelised Grape Nuts, then add the salt and the hazelnut oil.
To make the dark chocolate layers, break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Pour the melted chocolate over a sheet of acetate. Place another sheet of acetate on top and then place a heavy chopping board on top to create a thin, even layer. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Using a pastry cutter roughly the size of the inside of the flower pots, cut out four discs of chocolate. Store in an airtight container in between sheets of parchment in the fridge.
To start the Marsala cream, whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the mascarpone, whipping cream and Marsala until soft peaks form. Fold the cream mixture into the egg mixture in three batches.
Place 5 tablespoons of the cream mixture in a small saucepan. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine leaf, add it to the pan and warm up the mixture just enough to melt the gelatine. Whisk the mixture into the bulk of the Marsala cream.
To soak the sponge fingers, place them in a flat tray. Mix the coffee with the Marsala, and drizzle some of this over the top. Allow to soak for approximately 1 minute, then turn the sponge fingers over and drizzle with the remaining coffee mixture.
To assemble the tiramisù, place a chocolate disc on the bottom of each pot, then add some sponge fingers soaked in coffee and Marsala. Next add some Marsala cream. Place another chocolate disc on top then some more Marsala cream, one more disc and a final layer of cream. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Sprinkle the soil on top of each tiramisu flower pot to cover the surface.
To finish the tiramisù, brush some melted chocolate underneath mint and basil leaves and, when dry, 'plant' them in the edible soil.