Amarula Tiramisu – An Italian classic with an African twist!

Amarula is a liqueur made form sugar, cream and the fruit from the African Marula tree, also called the Elephant tree or the marriage tree around Africa. Amarula has a fruity, caramel taste and although it seems to be too sweet for some palates, Amarula is currently the second largest seller of creamy liqueurs after Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Elephants eat the fruits from the Marula tree and there is a common belief that they get drunk from the fermented fruits, but that is far from the truth. The distillers have taken the elephant as their symbol and contributes generously to elephant conservation and even co-funds the Amarula Elephant Research Program.
“The Marula tree is indigenous to sub-equatorial Africa and its fruit can only be harvested in the wild. Steeped in legend and tradition, this wild tree is revered by African tribes as the marriage tree under whose fertile branches many an African princess has been joined in wedded bliss. The Marula tree is one of the most highly valued indigenous trees on the African continent, with a variety of uses that differ from tribe to tribe. Only the female Marula tree bears the succulent and exotic flavoured fruit which ripens to a light yellow, filling the air with an intense tropical fragrance that floats on the warm summer breeze and which attracts Africa’s giants of the bush, the elephant whose desire for the fruit is unlimited”.(info Wikipedia)
Enough with the research, wouldn’t you say??
Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert and although I love Italian cooking, I have NEVER made this decadent dessert. I was looking at a Amarula advertisement in a magazine the other day and the idea started forming in my head….what if I made a classic Italian Dessert with an African twist… Traditionally, tiramisu is made with either brandy, coffee liqueur, marsala wine or cognac, so what was stopping me from using Amarula Liqueur….NOTHING!!!!
I got my original recipe from David Lebovitz’ site, but I made a view changes….(my changes are in red) Please visit his site for lots more decadent sweet treats!

Amarula Tiramisu recipe – (I also doubled the entire recipe)

1/2 cup (125ml) espresso, at room temperature
2 tablespoons dark rum – omitted the rum
1 tablespoon cognac – I used 3 tbsp brandy
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
pinch of salt
7 tablespoons (90g) sugar, divided – I used caster sugar
1 cup (250g) mascarpone
twelve 3½-inch ladyfingers (70g, or 3 ounces)
optional: 1 ounce (30g) bittersweet chocolate
125ml Amarula Liqueur.
unsweetened cocoa powder, for serving
1. Mix together the espresso, rum, and cognac. The mixture should taste strongly of alcohol. If not, add more until it does. (That flavor will tone down when mixed with the other ingredients, but feel free to adjust to taste.)
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to get stiff. Beat in half of the sugar until stiff. Scrape the egg whites into a small bowl.
3. In the same bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until stiff and light-colored, about three minutes. (If using a standing electric mixer, you may need to stop and scrape down the sides.) By hand, beat in the mascarpone with a spatula or whisk, until lump-free. Add the Amarula Liqueur and mix well.

4. Fold in half of the beaten egg whites, then the remaining half, just until fully incorporated.
5. Put a splat, a heaping soup spoon, of the mascarpone cream into each vessel.
6. Submerge each ladyfinger in the espresso mixture for 5-10 seconds, until completely, utterly soaked. (Dried ladyfingers will take longer to saturate than softer ones.) Break the ladyfinger in half to be sure; they should be dropping wet, and can’t be saturated enough. Then layer them over the mascarpone cream in each vessel. Use two ladyfingers per.
7. Grate a generous amount of chocolate over each.
8. Top with remaining mascarpone cream, cover, and refrigerate at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
9. Right before serving, shake powdered cocoa generously on top.