Berry season is in full swing!  I can never get enough of all the strawberries, blueberries, and especially raspberries.

The other day while I was making tiramisu at work, I thought it would be brilliant to combine this classic dessert’s silky, subtly sweet, mascarpone filling with my surplus of perfect summer berries.

Just a few tweaks here and there – nixing the coffee flavor in favor of refreshing raspberry via Framboise liqueur and replacing the usual garnish of cocoa powder for vibrant strawberries – resulted in a satisfying summer dessert highlighting the season’s finest.

Red, White, & Blue Tiramisu

Serves 6

Note:  To moisten the ladyfingers, you must make a simple syrup.  You will likely have some leftover and it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one month.  This syrup would be great for brushing cake layers to add moisture and flavor.   There are two kinds of ladyfingers – hard and soft- for tiramisu you use the hard, oven baked, kind which can be found in the Italian or cookie sections of some grocery stores.

For syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped

2 tablespoons Framboise (raspberry liqueur)

For filling:

4 egg, yolks and whites separated

4 tablespoons sugar

8 oz mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup raspberries

3/4 cup blueberries

12-14 ladyfingers (see note)

10-12 sliced strawberries

Make syrup:  Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir until all the sugar is wet.  Add vanilla bean seeds and pod.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan around once or twice to help dissolve sugar.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let cook to room temperature.  Strain 1 cup of the syrup into a medium bowl and whisk in raspberry liqueur, set aside and save remaining syrup for a later use (see note).

Make filling:  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar until mixture thickens slightly and becomes light in color.  Add mascarpone cheese and continue to beat until well combined.  Remove mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.  In a clean bowl, using whip attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until they begin to get foamy.  With mixer still running, add remaining two tablespoons of sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  Add egg whites to mascarpone mixture and fold together until well incorporated.  Gently fold in raspberries and blueberries.

Assemble:  Dunk 6-7 ladyfinger into raspberry syrup until they soak up the syrup.  Arrange ladyfingers on the bottom of a 8 1/2- by – 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Top ladyfingers evenly with half of mascarpone filling.  Repeat with another layer of the remaining 6-7 ladyfingers soaked in syrup and  mascarpone filling.  Top with sliced strawberries.  Let dessert chill for at least 3 hours before serving.