Tiramisu is Italian for "make me happy." In other words, the jolt of coffee one perceives in this dessert is the reason for the nomenclature. It is fairly new to the cooking arena, since only about the late ‘60s has it been offered up to chefs to interpret on their own. And here is The Yankee Chefs interpretation. though I don't use ladyfingers in my presentation, I use something even better. Molasses cookies. I think these go absolutely perfectly, flavor-wise, with the other levels of taste and the texture is slightly firmer with a little crispness from the edge of each cookie that helps tie everything in. Although I don't soak the cookies in coffee, I add the flavor of espresso AND soak the cookies in another New England mainstay-Rum! If you are under age and would love to enjoy this dessert, simple omit the rum and add a few drops of almond extract with the real maple syrup. It will be just as delightful.
Yankee Pumpkin Tiramisu
1 c. canned pure pumpkin
1 t. cinnamon
1 2 t. ginger
1 c. heavy or whipping cream, divided
1 4 c. plus 1 T. powdered sugar
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 4 c. pure maple syrup
1 1 2 T. dark rum
4 oz. broken molasses cookies
In a medium mixing bowl, mix pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger until combined. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat 1/2 c. sugar with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream mixture into pumpkin mixture. In an additional mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and remainder of powdered sugar. Beat until combined, then add the remaining 1/2 c. whipping cream and beat until mixture is thickened. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and rum.
To assemble: Place half broken cookies into the bottom of each serving container(makes about 4). Drizzle about 1 T. rum mixture onto cookies. Add pumpkin filling on top of cookies, then top with two additional broken cookies. Drizzle 1 T. rum mixture onto these cookies as well. Top with the remainder of pumpkin filling. Dollop mascarpone topping onto pumpkin filling and spread evenly. Refrigerator for at least 4 hours (can be made one day ahead). Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice prior to serving.
Chef Jim Baley -- The Yankee Chef -- is a noted food columnist, cookbook author and the foremost New England Food Historian. He is a third generation chef and historian and lives in Maine with his wife and four children. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.