saffron, cardamom, and rosewater tiramisu

spring planting has officially begun and i have had the most splendid week, baking up a storm, using up all of the flour to make room in the world for eggboy to grow more wheat. or something like that! in the past few days i made my first malawach, my first kuku, and also did some serious carrot cake experiments and ramp pickling because eggboy brought home 16 bunches the other day. i had the mindy project on in the background this whole week and now i don’t think i’ll be able to watch it without craving carrot cake and ramps in the same way that i feel the need to make donuts every time i watch bojack. 

the town co-op went out of business over the weekend. it makes me blue every time i think of it but i can’t say we didn’t see it coming. bagel sunday was part of a last effort to try and save it, and while it was fun and successful, it wasn’t enough to save the co-op. i’m hoping to find another space for bagel sunday but for now eggboy and i are helping the board and members figure out what comes next for the organization. the good thing is that just because the grocery store is out of business, it doesn’t mean that the membership has disbanded, so the community is still there and a lot of the members are hoping to create a new space. i’d be so happy if i could still get their #2 sandwich (hold the sprouts) and just generally have a cute downtown hang with cool friendly people. 

also until yesterday i was a little nervous about how i was going to get my ramp fix next spring since the co-op wouldn’t be there to order them for me, but then eggboy got a cryptic text from sheila and dave with a picture of freshly picked ramps. we think it’s from somewhere in north dakota, but eggboy’s too afraid to ask out of fear that they won’t want to disclose their secret stash (*cue the eye roll of the week*).

so anyway i don’t have a good segue to this but i have to tell you about this tiramisu. by definition, i’m not a tiramisu person as i have a very strict liquid intake schedule that goes as follows:

morning-12pm: coffee, as much as i can drink within that time period

12pm-5pm: green tea, 1-2 mugs

5pm-bedtime: booze, these days it’s 1/2 a glass of wine sunday-thursday, and then friday and saturday double that, maybe

because tiramisu is drenched in coffee, and because i’ve just never really been moved by the flavors of it, i have never ever ordered it at a restaurant. it feels outdated and not worth the calories. and let’s go broader here: while i’m always curious about restaurant dessert menus in the name of research and inspiration, it’s extraordinarily rare that i get to dessert and think aww shucks, i should have eaten less schnitzel so that i could have saved room for this quenelle of gelato with crunchies on it. while i prefer making sweet things, i definitely prefer eating savory things. 

all of this was shattered when we were at nosh berlin in march and ate this here rosewater cardamom tiramisu at a pop-up shabbat meal cooked by sophie and xenia von oswald. sophie and xenia are german iranian sisters who grew up in australia and now live in berlin, and they made a persian feast that was one course after another of food i want to eat again and again and again. it included a very saffrony tahdig and dreamy short ribs and a perfectly acidic tabbouleh. oh i just couldn’t stop with that tahdig, it was insane. and then when this tiramisu came i thought, oh i’ll just have a bite of eggboy’s because i was so full on short ribs and tahdig, but that was the wrong thing to think because after one bite i just wanted to cry about how good it was. it was all of my favorite flavors, wrapped up into a pile of velvety fluff. light but luxurious, it was perfect after such a huge great meal. actually it was perfect, period. suddenly it was the tiramisu that made me love tiramisu and the inspiration alone was my favorite souvenir from that week in berlin.

luckily i didn’t have to blindly claw my away around my first tiramisu when i got home because sophie and xenia shared their recipe with me, yay!!! oh it’s so good and not too hard to make. and it's a perfect dessert if you need something to prepare in advance. here are some notes from my inaugural tiramisu experience:

-i was not successful the first time around because i tried pasteurizing macaroni’s eggs since sometimes they’re often a bit dirty and i get so paranoid that if the outside of the shell accidentally touches the insides when i’m cracking it that i’ll get salmonella. it turns out i suck at pasteurizing. so after i learned that i went out and bought pasteurized eggs since this recipe has raw egg. 

-i made homemade ladyfingers for this! i used the recipe from luisa’s book and ended up using the whole batch of about 60 in this since they were much smaller than the store-bought kind.

-i didn’t have vanilla liqueur so i subbed vanilla extract and used 1 tb in the tea and 2 tsp in the yolk mixture.

-since my rosewater is super strong, i started by just adding a teaspoon and then added more bit by bit.

thank you sophia and xenia for sharing this recipe!!! berlin friends, go check out their events!

saffron, cardamom, and rosewater tiramisu

serves 6

By Sophie & Xenia von Oswald AKA Rocket & Basil


300 ml VERY STRONG Earl Grey Tea

2 tb simple syrup

4 tb vanilla liqueur

6 large eggs 

150 g caster sugar

500 g mascarpone

A healthy pinch of Saffron 

1 tb rose water

10-15 ladyfingers

1 tsp ground cardamom

rose petals and pistachios, for serving 


First, make the tea, allowing it to brew for at least 15-20 Minutes [using about 4 tea bags]. You want it to have a really strong earl grey flavor, almost to the point of being bitter. Sweeten with simple sugar syrup and 2 tablespoons of the vanilla liqueur, then allow to cool.

Make saffron essence: Use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron (saving a few strands) into a super fine powder (adding a pinch of sugar to the mortar will help this along), pour over 50 ml of just boiled water and cool.

Separate the eggs, then whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the eggs are frothy, creamy, doubled in size and all the sugar has dissolved.

With the mixer on slow speed, add the mascarpone and beat until smooth, then add 3-4 teaspoons of saffron essence (the color of the mixture should be a deep yellow), the remaining liqueur, rose water and saffron strands.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them gently into the egg yolk mixture, taking care to knock out as little air as possible. Check the mixture for sweetness and add more liqueur/saffron essence if needed.

To assemble: Dip the ladyfingers quickly in the cooled down tea, top with the cream and some ground cardamom. Repeat with a second layer, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. We prefer to do overnight! Decorate with chopped pistachios and rose petals before serving! AND ENJOY!!