Mary Contini: Raspberry tiramisu

In the cold winter months, we all dream of bright warm sunshine, endless sandy beaches, and chilled Mediterranean living. Our winters are harsh, and I dream of getting away from the dark dreich nights. Huddled up by the fire reading a book will never make me as happy as strolling along a beach with a gentle breeze at my back.

Which is why I have decided, unilaterally, that I am going to take my summer holidays in the winter months and stay here at home to enjoy the beautiful summers we have.

Yes, I know, it rains a lot, but the skies clear as soon as they darken. For me, the long light evenings at this time of year are one of the most delightful experiences. And, our larder is at its richest…spring lamb, summer vegetables, peas, broad beans, spinach, salads. Not to mention the glut of summer berries. I’m making jam, raspberry ice cream, raspberry sauce and gooseberry tart. Why go halfway round the world looking for a beach?


Make a fresh raspberry sauce:

500g raspberries

1 unwaxed lemon

500g granulated sugar

Don’t wash the raspberries. They get waterlogged and their flavour will be diluted. Just check each one inside to remove and stray greenfly.

Put in a shallow saucepan.

Add the sugar, the zest of the lemon and half the juice.

Bring to a slow simmer stirring gently until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil and boil the sauce for 10 minutes.

Set aside to cool. It isn’t important that this sauce gets to setting point.

It will be eaten before it has time to set!


Tiramisu means pick me up. This recipe is very easy and as it has no eggs it is very safe for everyone. Prepare this in individual glasses to show the lovely bright red and cream layers.

5 lay out 6-8 glasses, depending on size.

500g tub mascarpone cheese

125g double cream

2-3 tablespoons marsala or sweet sherry

Icing sugar

Savoiardi biscuits or trifle sponge

100ml espresso coffee

Extra raspberries for decorating.

Tip the mascarpone into a bowl.

Mix the Marsala in with a fork.

Lightly whip the double cream and mix into the mascarpone.

Add icing sugar to taste.

Pour the coffee onto a shallow plate.

Break the biscuits in pieces to fit easily into the glasses.

Dip on each side in the coffee and lay in the glass.

Add a spoonful of the cream mixture.

Add a tablespoon of the cooled sauce and a few whole raspberries.

Layer again with more biscuits, cream and sauce.

Shave some dark chocolate on top and decorate with extra raspberries.