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Substitute for Mascarpone in Tiramisu

Asked by nishaa. Answered on 28th April 2011

Full question

Its very difficult to find mascarpone here in Bangladesh, can I use cream cheese instead of mascarpone for my tiramisu? Can you also suggest a good recipe for tiramisu without using any alcohol? Is it possible to use something like digestive biscuits or sponge cake instead of Italian biscuits? If tiramisu is made with raw eggs is it going to smell eggy? Thank you.

Our answer

Mascarpone is a cream cheese with a high fat content and a slightly sweet taste. It is difficult to find a substitute and regular cream cheese has a lower fat content and a more acidic flavour. However you could try beating together 225g (8 ounces) full fat cream cheese with 60ml (4 tablespoons/1/4 cup) double or whipping cream and 30g (1 ounce/2 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter until just blended. This will give the equivalent of around 300g (10 ounces/1 1/4 cups) mascarpone.

Instead of the Italian Savoyardi (ladyfingers/sponge fingers) a vanilla or plain sponge cake would be the best choice. Try to use a cake with a fairly close texture such as a Madiera or pound cake. Slice the cake and leave it on a wire rack to dry out for a day or two so that when it is dipped into the coffee mixture it absorbs liquid without breaking up too much.

You can replace the alcohol with extra coffee or you can use orange juice instead. The raw eggs should not give a bad smell but we would like to mention that in warm climates any dishes with raw or lightly cooked eggs should be refrigerated very quickly and and be kept refrigerated until needed. Also dishes containing raw eggs should not be given to small children, the elderly or anyone with a weakened immune system due to the risk of salmonella.

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