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Culinary SOS

Tira Mi Su: Italian Version of the Classic Trifle

February 11, 1988|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: I had a wonderful dessert called tira mi su that is very like a trifle with layers of Savoyard biscuits dipped in coffee and cream. Can you provide a recipe? Thank you.

--READER

Dear Reader: This modern dessert is an Italian version of the English trifle, but instead of jam and custard, the chief ingredients are mascarpone cheese (a soft Italian cream cheese) and biscotti , the bready Italian biscuits that are often dipped in coffee or sprinkled with coffee liqueur. The recipe is from La Cucina, a contemporary Italian restaurant in Los Angeles.

LA CUCINA'S

TIRA MI SU

(Italian Trifle)

8 egg yolks

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup Marsala wine

1 1/4 pounds mascarpone (creamy Italian cheese) or cream cheese

3 cups whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (3 1/2-ounce) package lady fingers, split, or Italian biscotti

1 cup espresso or strong coffee

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Beat egg yolks with powdered sugar and Marsala wine over warm water until light. Cool.

Slowly whip mascarpone cheese. Beat into egg yolk mixture. Whip whipping cream, gradually adding vanilla, until stiff. Fold into egg yolk-cheese mixture.

Dip split ladyfingers into espresso, just enough to moisten. Layer ladyfingers on bottom of large bowl. Spoon layer of cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Cover with more ladyfingers. Repeat layers.

Sprinkle surface with cocoa powder. Garnish with whipping cream and coffee beans, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Dear SOS: Help! I've lost my favorite recipe in the whole world; it's called chicken Veronica and is made with orange juice, wine and honey. (For the wine I use Asti Spumanti, of course.)

--LINDA

Dear Linda: Hurray! We found the recipe by going back to 1975 files, and we're delighted. This unusual version with honey and orange juice and wine--Spumanti is a nice touch for the wine--makes the dish even more glamorous than it already is. Here's the dish with its French name.

CHICKEN VERONIQUE

2 tablespoons flour

Salt, pepper

1 (3-to-4-pound) broiler-fryer, cut in serving pieces

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

2 tablespoon slivered orange peel

1 cup canned or fresh seedless white or green grapes

Season flour with salt and pepper and dust chicken pieces lightly with flour mixture. Brown chicken in oil in large skillet. Add wine, orange juice, honey and parsley. Cover and simmer over low heat 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add orange peel and cook until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken to serving platter. Add grapes to skillet and stir 2 minutes (use half of grapes, if large). Pour over chicken. Garnish with additional grapes and orange slices, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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