World Coffee Day is celebrated around the world on the 29th of September and is used as great excuse for everyone in the industry to promote Fair Trade coffee and to raise awareness of the plight of coffee growers around the world, a plight that has been particularly hard for the millions of growers in Central and South America who have been affected by La Roya, a coffee fungus that has devastated thousands of farms and families and caused an economic damage of over one billion pounds since it hit in 2012.
As if producers didn’t have enough challenges already by having to face the inequalities of the incredibly competitive and complex coffee market, and suffering the effects of climate change; La Roya has been the final stroke that has forced many growers to sadly give up on a traditional source of income (and art form!) of many generations. Nonetheless, it gives me hope to know that many of the cooperatives that I have had the pleasure of being involved with over the years, have taken it in their stride, and are working hard to support their members in the introduction of new coffee varieties that are resistant to La Roya. I take my hat of to them and sincerely hope that their businesses will become more resilient as a result.
But back to coffee… coffee is what makes the world go round right? And although it’s sensational just on its own as a drink, there are many scrumptious recipes that include it, and Tiramisu is probably one of the most famous ones. This coffee flavoured Italian dessert (which quite appropriately means ‘pick me up’ or lift me up’!) is super easy to make and although it’s a bit rich… if you have a good excuse for the extra calories…you absolutely must go for it.
It’s made from ladyfinger biscuits which are soaked in coffee and amaretto and then layered with raspberries and a combination of a sort of custard, double cream and mascarpone cheese (this is what I mean about the richness!), and if you use, like I did, a transparent cup or glass (or many mismatched ones like I did!) they can be quite beautiful to bring out at the end of a meal.
For this recipe I used this amazing 360 Reserva de Puerto Rico coffee from Sea Island Coffee, which is an fantastic company that specializes in rare and exotic coffees. They source super special single origins from, off-the-beaten track places, whose volumes are often limited to a very small annual production, allowing for strict quality control and strong sustainable and environmental practices. They believe that coffee can only be considered great if it is grown with respect for people and planet and many of the single estates and co-operatives from which they source, are organic and fair trade certified, and others are working with Rainforest Alliance and Utz. If you are a coffee enthusiast with a discerning palate you must visit their page and try their incredible blends!
So, here goes this super easy recipe for an Italian Raspberry and Amaretto Tiramisu:
- 2 free range egg yolks
- 2 tbsp. of Fairtrade sugar
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- 250 gr of mascarpone cheese
- 130 gr of double cream
- 6-8 ladyfinger biscuits
- 200 ml of Fairtrade coffee
- 100 ml of Amaretto
- 100 gr of fresh raspberries
- cocoa powder
- – Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale
- – Simmer on Banne Marie for 6-8 minutes until you get a sort of think custard. Add the vanilla extract, mix again and then leave to cool
- – Mix the mascarpone a bit with a fork to loosen it
- – Beat the double cream until you get hard peaks
- – Fold the mascarpone cheese and the double cream into the custard mixture, until you get a creamy and loose mixture
- – Place the coffee and amaretto on a shallow plate
- – Dunk the biscuits in the mixture (both sides, but not too much!) and then place them on your serving glass
- – Add layers of cream and raspberries to taste
- – Finish by dusting some cocoa powder on the top
- – Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, but better overnight.
- – Take out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving