Berry and Madeira-Whipped Ricotta Tiramisu
Serves 8

This is the perfect dessert for those hot, steamy summer days when you just can’t bear to turn the oven on. The ladyfingers don’t get overly soaked and softened by the raspberry syrup and ricotta cream, meaning they retain a little crispness that nicely counters the super decadent Madeira-spiked ricotta cream. You can also drop the ladyfinger cookies entirely and use any kind of torn up cake (angel food, pound cake; I’ve even made it with a few leftover blueberry muffins!) or sack the cake element all together and just do it up simple: berries and cream drizzled with homemade raspberry syrup. For a smaller group, halve the recipe and make it in a 9- by 3-inch loaf pan.

For the raspberry syrup

1 pint raspberries

2/3 cup strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the tiramisu

1 cup (8 ounces) good-quality ricotta cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Madeira

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Two 3.5-ounce packages ladyfinger cookies (about 40 cookies)

6 tablespoons raspberry syrup

2 pints raspberries

2 pints blueberries

Place 1 cup of the raspberries, the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gently stir the sugar so it coats the berries, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a simmer. Cook until the mixture thickens slightly (the raspberries will break down completely), 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat to medium-low if the mixture starts to spatter. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of raspberries and cook for an additional 1 minute. Set aside to cool completely (the syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge; itís fantastic over pancakes, waffles, French toast, and ice cream).

Place the ricotta, sugar, Madeira, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and whip on low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and whip until the ricotta is smooth, about 1 minute.

Add the heavy cream and whip on low speed to incorporate it into the ricotta mixture. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, increase the speed to medium-low and whip until the mixture looks like it wonít splash around once you increase the mixer speed. Turn the mixer speed up to medium, then medium-high, scraping the bowl as necessary, and whip the mixture to medium-stiff peaks.

Place 1 layer of ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish (you may need to trim the ladyfingers to get them to fit in a nice, even layer). Drizzle with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the raspberry syrup and then cover with 1/3 of the ricotta cream, using a rubber spatula or knife to gently spread it into an even layer. Cover with half of the berries. Add another layer of ladyfingers, drizzle with a few more tablespoons of raspberry syrup, and spread with the remaining cream. Top with the remaining berries. Cover with baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

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