Cayenne Cafe's citrus tiramisu

Cayenne Cafe's citrus tiramisu. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and eggs. Whisk in the lemon juice, then the milk. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens (it should coat the back of the spoon). Remove from heat and strain into a bowl set over a bowl of ice water. Stir until cool, then stir in the rum and vanilla. This makes a generous 2 cups of custard. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Ladyfinger syrup

3 cups water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons rum

In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Cool completely.

Whipped cream with mascarpone

1 pint whipping cream

4 ounces mascarpone

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whip together the cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla until firm. This makes 4 cups whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Tiramisu assembly

1 1/2 packages ladyfingers (about 3 dozen)

Ladyfinger syrup

Lemon custard

Whipped cream with mascarpone

Chocolate sauce, if desired, for garnish

1. Assemble the first layer of ladyfingers: Dip ladyfingers in syrup, one at a time, and place in a single layer on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish (or 10-by-8-inch dish). Cover the layer with half the custard.

2. Repeat with a second layer of ladyfingers, then top with the remaining custard.

3. Form a third and final layer of ladyfingers, then smooth over half of the whipped cream with mascarpone.

4. Refrigerate the tiramisu overnight to allow the flavors to be absorbed and marry. Serve each slice with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a dollop of the flavored whipped cream, if desired.

Each of 12 servings: 414 calories; 8 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 24 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 189 mg cholesterol; 19 grams sugar; 100 mg sodium.

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