My name is Finola and I have an incurable sweet tooth.
In fact, it’s so bad that my boyfriend puts my special treats right at the back of the highest cupboard in the kitchen, so I have to climb up onto the counter to get at them, because I’m too small to reach. Yes, it’s an addiction and I’m not ashamed to say I regularly scale the worktops to get my fix. Chocolate, cakes, biscuits… If it’s sugary-sweet and delicious, then it’s got my name on it.
Now, herein lies the problem – since embarking on my gluten-free adventure, my choice of dessert has become rather limited to a selection of uninspiring afters. And top of that list is fruit salad.
Let me put one thing straight, dear reader – fruit salad is not a dessert and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Fruit salad is something you serve with a dessert. Served on the side of a deliciously moist, delicately flavoured polenta cake or drizzled over crisp, chewy snow-white meringues.
Such is my disdain for fruit salad as dessert, in my quest to find an alternative, I have selflessly tried and tested a new favourite of mine which I’ve called Cheat’s Tiramisu – my favourite and most missed dessert from the days before. It’s really easy and there’s even a bit of banana in there to prove I’m not totally anti-fruit. I tweaked a recipe from the BBC Good Food website. This recipes serves 4, but we made 2 giant ones to share.
Using 150ml of water, dissolve the coffee in a shallow dish. Whisk together the mascarpone, custard, sugar and Baileys if using, until smooth. Dip your trifle sponges into the cold coffee until soaked but not soggy – I used Udi’s gluten-free muffins instead of trifle sponges, which held together really well – and begin layering the bottom of your glass. Spoon over the mascarpone custard and top with some sliced banana. Repeat layers and pop in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving.
These giant tiramisus were a real treat on a hot weekend – too much for one, but perfect to share. The bitterness of the coffee was just right, so the mascarpone custard wasn’t too sweet. Even my “I’d-rather-have-cheese-and-biscuits” boyfriend gave it a thumbs up.
Top Tip: This dessert really improves the longer it chills. The first taste test was delicious, but after 24 hours, the second was even more delightful as the sponge had absorbed more of the coffee/mascarpone goodness making it even more unctuous and decadent. And the best bit? It’s totally calorie (and fruit salad) free*.