Amaretti and Pumpkin Tiramisu with Amaretto di Saronno

Amaretti and Pumpkin Tiramisu

Amaretti and Pumpkin Tiramisu

Would you try a tiramisu made with pumpkin, amaretti cookies and flavored with almond liqueur?  I bet you would.  So, get excited! This is an amaretti and pumpkin twist on a classic tiramisu that’s absolutely delicious, and would make a perfect dessert for your holiday table.

The first time I tasted this type of tiramisu was when I was studying at a cooking in the Piedmont region of Italy.  It was one of those culinary moments (mostly because I was caught off guard) when a young chef learns to appreciate the delicious impact that a few small tweaks can have on a classic recipe.  When I ordered the “special tiramisu” while dining out one evening, it wasn’t described as being any different than what one would normally expect. Then POW!  After one bite my mind was blown. The pastry chef didn’t completely reinvent the wheel with his tiramisu, which in my opinion is a good thing. He simply replaced the traditional lady fingers (Savoiardi) with amaretti cookies, which were soaked in coffee, flavored with Frangelico.  These small adaptations were enough to breathe new life and intrigue into what is usually a common Italian dessert.  It was delicious and the small changes were a welcomed and refreshing twist.  Tiramisu, from then on, would be a dessert that I never underestimated; my quest became to test and taste different varieties in search of the greatest one.

There are many versions of tiramisu out there.  The one I share with you below is my all-time favorite for the holidays.  It is a festive recipe that combines my mother’s classic version with my favorite autumn flavors.

Remember, the type of amaretti cookies that you use will make all the difference in the world for this recipe.  Make sure to buy the best. I use Amaretti di Saronno.

Amaretti di Saronno

Amaretti di Saronno

They are a nice size and the perfect substitution for the traditional lady fingers.  Be careful not to over-soak the cookies; they will add a delightful element of texture to the recipe.  I also like a flavorful combination of Amaretto di Saronno and strong espresso to moisten the cookies.  The addition of Amaretto really complements the sweet almond flavor of the amaretti cookies.  Moreover, it pairs nicely with the pumpkin and autumn spices that the recipe calls for.  It’s just a great winning combo!

Also, you can make the soaking liquid and the filling a day or two in advance, then assemble it the night before you’re planning to serve.  Making this tiramisu is a perfect dessert to whip up for the holidays.  Enjoy!

Amaretti and Pumpkin Tiramisu with Amaretto di Saronno

Soaking Liquid

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brewed espresso (or 8 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup Amaretto di Saronno

Procedure:

  • Add the sugar to the hot espresso.
  • Stir to dissolve.
  • Once completely cooled, add the Amaretto di Saronno

Tip: At this point you can store the liquid in an air tight container in your refrigerator until ready to use. 

Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger and allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon each nutmeg and cloves
  • ¼ cup Amaretto di Saronno
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 40 Amaretti cookies, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 8″ x 8″ size dish (I used a 7″ x 10″ dish)

Procedure:  I used a stand mixer (all can be done by hand, with a whisk, too.)

soft peak egg whites

soft peak egg whites

  • In a very clean and chilled bowl, whip egg whites until frothy. Set aside.
  • Beat egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar until pale and ribbons form, then add pumpkin, the spices and Amaretto di Saronno until well combined.
ribbon consistency egg yolks

ribbon consistency egg yolks

  • Mix in the mascarpone until just blended.
mascarpone completely added

mascarpone completely added

  • Add 1/3 of egg whites to the pumpkin mascarpone mixture. Fold in.
egg white addition

egg white addition

  • Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until just combined and set aside.

To Assemble

Procedure:

  •  Place espresso mixture in a shallow pan. Carefully soak Amaretti cookies to soften slightly.
  • After a 2-3 minutes, flip them to soak another minute. Spoon the liquid over them once or twice during this process.
soaking the amaretti

soaking the amaretti

  •  DO NOT over-soak them. They should still hold their shape and have some crunch. The amaretti cookies will soften more as the tiramisu sets up in your refrigerator.
  • Add a few tablespoons of the mascarpone filling to the bottom of your dish.
first layer

first layer

  • Arrange the cookies evenly in one layer.
  • Fill the in between gaps with any broken cookies. Spread 1/2 of the pumpkin mascarpone over this first layer.
  • Repeat with remaining soaked Amaretti and pumpkin mascarpone.
  • Smooth out the top layer.
  • Combine the tablespoon of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle on top.
final layer

final layer

  • Refrigerate at least 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • Cut your portion size carefully.
dsc_0850-2

Amaretti and Pumpkin Tiramisu with Amaretto di Saronno

  • Garnish with crushed Amaretti cookies if desired.

Tip: For an alcohol-free and egg-free version:

  • Simply omit the Amaretto in the soaking liquid recipe.
  • Increase espresso from 1 cup to 1 2/3 cups. Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract.

Tip: For an egg free version:

  • Omit the eggs used in the filling.
  • Replace with 1 cup of heavy cream whipped to soft peaks.
  • Set aside. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, spices, ½ teaspoon almond extract and mascarpone. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mascarpone mixture.
  • Assemble as directed above.