Pear Tiramisù with Vanilla Mousse

It's beautiful, delectable and simple. 

As I was scanning the April 2012 issue of La Cucina Italiana, I immediately bookmarked this recipe.  I knew it would be good judging from the ingredients and the how it's done.

I was going to call it a night after I prepared some dishes for the following day's dinner for a friend who's joining us.  I was finishing up the avocado semifreddo when I looked at the egg yolks that I set aside.  The semifreddo only called for egg whites. The last time I prepared a dessert with egg whites, I put the unwanted yolks in the fridge and completely forgot about them.   I had to toss them in the trash after a few days.  This time, I didn't want to commit the same mistake because I don't like throwing away good ingredients. 

That's when I thought about this recipe.  It uses egg yolks.  Problem solved.  

The only thing is, it was already getting close to midnight, rather (very) late to start something that needed to be baked for 45 minutes. 

As I read the recipe, it says that it would even taste better if it is made a day before.  It was speaking straight to me.  I had to do it, whatever time it was.

Since the recipe is for 8, I halved the amount of all the ingredients.  After all, this was dessert number 3 that I was concocting for our dinner the following day.  

Flambeing after midnight with 45 g. of liqueur was not really the smartest thing I did.   There I was, at such an ungoldly hour, holding a saucepan spewing tall flames that never seem to end , getting worried every second that was passing.  I took away the saucepan from the stove because I was scared the flames would ignite something in the range hood.  When the flames finally subsided and I transferred the flambeed pears to a plate, I felt weak with relief.  I thought I was going to burn down our house.  Flambeing makes me nervous. 

Aside from my "burning down the house episode", everything went smoothly with the recipe.  I have to mention though that the amount of vanilla mousse was not enough to cover the pears.  So, from the original recipe, the quantity of ingredients I wrote in this recipe are double to make the mousse.

However, instead of preparing another batch of vanilla mousse for the dessert I made, I decided to do a different approach and make some crema pasticcera (custard cream) as the closing and final layer of the tiramisu'.

I'll leave you with this dessert for this Easter weekend.

Buona Pasqua (Happy Easter) everyone!


Pear Tiramisù with Vanilla Mousse

Serves 8 in a baking dish of 26 x 16 cm.
  • 3 big pears (about 750 g.), peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 300 g. milk
  • 400 g. cream
  • 80 g. biscotti savoiardi (Iadyfinger biscuits)
  • 45 g. Grand Marnier
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 230 g. granulated sugar
  • a piece of lemon rind
  • knob of butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, opened in the middle and the seeds taken out
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • lingue di gatto (cat's tongues biscuits) 
  • 500 g. *crema pasticcera (custard cream): 50 g. flour, 500 ml. milk, 6 egg yolks, 1 vanilla pod (or vanilla extract), 150 g. sugar 
  1. Put butter in a saucepan.  When it has melted, add pears.  Cook until pears color a bit, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle granulated sugar on the pears, making it melt for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Flambe' by pouring Grand Marnier on the pears.  Tilt the saucepan until the alcohol catches flames.  Transfer the pears and the sauce to a plate.  Set aside.  
  2. Cover baking dish with a layer of savoiardi.   Distribute flambeed pears and sauce on top of the biscuits.
  3. Whisk the egg and 2 egg yolks with 70 g. of granulated sugar.  In a small saucepan, boil milk with lemon rind.  After it boils, pour it on the egg mixture, taking away the lemon rind.  Mix.
  4. Pour egg & milk mixture on the pears, completely covering them.  
  5. Put in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius.  Bake for 45 minutes.  After cooking, let it completely cool. 
  6. Meantime, whip cream in a bowl.  Set aside.
  7. In a saucepan, melt 160 g. of granulated sugar with the open vanilla pod and seeds.  Meantime, whisk the remaining 4 egg yolks with an electric mixer in a bowl.  When the sugar & vanilla mixture reaches 113 degrees Celsius, pour on the whisked egg yolks and continue whisking until it cools down.  Incorporate whipped cream using a spatula.  
  8. Complete the tiramisu' by pouring this mixture on top.  
  9. *If you are adding the crema pasticcera (custard cream), boil the milk (leaving 1/2 glass for later) with the vanilla pod in a small saucepan.  Once it boils, take it away from the fire and let it infuse for 10 minutes.  In a bowl, mix the yolks with the sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes creamy and frothy.  Pour about 1/3 of the segregated milk, then the flour, little by little.  Continue mixing with the electric mixer.  Take away the vanilla pod.  Pour the mixture little by little to the milk in the saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Whisk continuously to prevent formation of lumps.  Simmer on low heat until it becomes thick.  Turn off the fire and let it cool.  
  10. Garnish with sliced strawberries (or whole), whole raspberries and broken pieces of lingue di gatto.  Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. 
 NOTE:  This dessert will taste much better if you do it a day before to take out all the flavors. Just put the garnishing of fruits and lingue di gatto, on the day itself, before serving.