“Tiramisù is a classic Italian desert but there is nothing classic about my version which is served in clean flower pots and topped with edible soil and chocolate herbs. The soil is delicious (caramelized white chocolate tastes like Caramac bars) and kids love it because eating it looks so wrong but it tastes so right!” — Heston
For the crystallised dark chocolate
200 g white caster sugar
80 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
For the caramelized Grape Nuts
50 g Grape Nuts cereal
¼ tsp salt
15 g brown sugar
To finish the soil
60 g white chocolate
20 g cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
60 ml hazelnut oil
For the dark chocolate layers
250 g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
For the Marsala cream
3 large eggs
50 g unrefined caster sugar
300 g mascarpone
200 ml whipping cream
60 ml Marsala
1.5 g leaf gelatine, softened in a little cold water
For the sponge fingers
24 sponge fingers
150 ml ground coffee brewed in 400 ml water
100 ml Marsala
Basil and mint leaves, to garnish
For the crystallised dark chocolate, put 75 ml cold tap water and the sugar into a saucepan and place the pan over a high heat. Bring to the boil and continue to heat until the temperature of the liquid reaches 135ºC or until the syrup at the side of the pan begins to colour.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Whisk to incorporate the chocolate and continue to whisk until the liquid has completely crystallised.
Pour the chocolate crystals onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool. This can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
To caramelise the Grape Nuts, place the cereal in a frying pan over a high heat and allow to toast for approximately 4 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Add the salt and continue to toast for an additional minute.
Sprinkle the sugar over the surface of the Grape Nuts and stir with a spatula until the surface of the Grape Nuts is well caramelised.
Pour the caramelised Grape Nuts on to a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool at room temperature. Roughly chop and set aside.
To caramelize the white chocolate, preheat the oven to 190ºC/gas mark 5. Place the white chocolate on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, begin to stir the chocolate every couple of minutes until fully caramelised.
Mix the crystallised dark chocolate and caramelised white chocolate with the cocoa powder and chopped caramelised Grape Nuts, then add the salt and the hazelnut oil.
To make the dark chocolate layers, break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Pour the melted chocolate over a sheet of acetate. Place another sheet of acetate on top and then place a heavy chopping board on top to create a thin, even layer. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Using a pastry cutter roughly the size of the inside of the flower pots, cut out four discs of chocolate. Store in an airtight container in between sheets of parchment in the fridge.
To start the Marsala cream, whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the mascarpone, whipping cream and Marsala until soft peaks form. Fold the cream mixture into the egg mixture in three batches.
Place 5 tablespoons of the cream mixture in a small saucepan. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine leaf, add it to the pan and warm up the mixture just enough to melt the gelatine. Whisk the mixture into the bulk of the Marsala cream.
To soak the sponge fingers, place them in a flat tray. Mix the coffee with the Marsala, and drizzle some of this over the top. Allow to soak for approximately 1 minute, then turn the sponge fingers over and drizzle with the remaining coffee mixture.
To assemble the tiramisù, place a chocolate disc on the bottom of each pot, then add some sponge fingers soaked in coffee and Marsala. Next add some Marsala cream. Place another chocolate disc on top then some more Marsala cream, one more disc and a final layer of cream. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Sprinkle the soil on top of each tiramisu flower pot to cover the surface.
To finish the tiramisù, brush some melted chocolate underneath mint and basil leaves and, when dry, ‘plant’ them in the edible soil.
Want more recipes by Heston Blumenthal? Get these…
Granita is the easier frozen dessert to make. It is typically made by freezing the mixture and scraping it often as ice crystals form. Watch and learn how to make this refreshing dessert perfect on a hot day. Amaze your guests with three flavors: Strawberry and basil, lemon and mint, and coffee…it will look like you slaved all day in the kitchen… if only they knew how simple is to make it!
300 ml strong coffee
60 g caster sugar
Lemon and Mint Granita
200 ml lemon juice
100 ml water
60 g caster sugar
A few sprigs of mint
Strawberry and Basil Granita
1 punnet of strawberries, blitzed to a puree
A few sprigs of basil
Juice of a lemon
80 g caster sugar