Carry Me Up

Robin Botie's tiramisu bowl before it broke in Ithaca, New York.Before leaving for the luncheon, I snapped a photo of the tiramisu I made. It looked perfect. But in a joyful spirit, I’d doubled the Kahlua. By the time we got around to dessert the whole thing had drowned. My friends ate most of the beautiful mess anyway. Everyone knew I’d made it with love.
A day later I broke the tiramisu bowl. The glass bowl that had contained magnificent salads and trifles slipped from my soapy hands, hit the side of the sink, and cracked.

Tiramisu in Italian means “carry me up.” That is what I did after my daughter died, when I got the mixed messages: give yourself time to heal, get over it, this will be with you forever. I carried Marika and found ways to make her part of my life. And part of my life has been to carry salad or tiramisu to friends’ dish-to-pass suppers.
“Carry me” is what my friends did.
I carried the cracked bowl to its final resting place on the top shelf of my closet.

In homage to my bowl, I hereby humbly set free my recipe:

Carry Me Low-fat Tiramisu

1. Put 16 ounces of Neufchatel cheese (low-fat cream cheese) into mixing bowl. Add 2T sugar, 1T powdered cocoa, 1T vanilla, and 3T Marsala wine (sweet or dry). Mix and let sit.

2. Pour 1¼ cups of Kahlua and 1¼ cups of strong (decaf) espresso into bowl. Halve and dip 12 ladyfingers, one at a time until saturated but not crumbling, into mixture and place in a decorative pattern on bottom of large glass serving bowl. Sprinkle generously with powdered cocoa. Let sit, covered.

3. Put 4T Birds Custard Powder and 4T sugar in medium saucepan, mix, and gradually stir in 3½ cups nonfat milk and ¼ cup Marsala. Mix until smooth, cook on medium heat stirring often until boiling. Boil 1 minute stirring constantly, remove from heat and cool 5-10 minutes.

4. Pour custard mix into Neufchatel mix and beat until smooth. Gently pour mixture over soaked ladyfingers. Halve, soak and arrange 12 more ladyfingers on top. Sprinkle with cocoa. Refrigerate. Cover when cold.

5. Just before serving, shave or grate a good dark chocolate bar over all.

Enjoy with friends. I wish you much sweetness this first week of April.

Who or what do you carry?


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4 thoughts on “Carry Me Up

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Thanks for the recipe and history, Robin. When things associated with Vic get broken or lost, I feel a pang. He’s that much further away in terms of body, but something of him seems to be sticking around. We move on and stay with at the same time. I cannot make that dessert, BTW. I have no will power.


      I don’t dare make tiramisu for myself either, Elaine. It’s too big and decadent for anything but a party.
      Friends razzed me for keeping the cracked bowl. But stuffing a good old friend onto the top shelf of the pantry was hard enough. One day I’ll actually trash it but I’m not going to beat myself up about not being able to do it now. I AM finding that there’s a lot of Marika that sticks around that cannot be held or worn. I know those pangs well though. Cheers!

  2. Kirsten Wasson

    Recipes are a great way to pass along memories and history. Thank you Robin! I carry with me pieces of the lives I’ve lived and left behind.


      Hi Kirsten,
      Sometimes I just need to break out of my regular routine here and do a fun food thing. I needed something happy to write about although the bowl broke, boo, but it gave me a bit of a break. Ooops, no pun intended. Yeah, circumstances change but those old recipes from lives lived and left behind are what I come back to. Cheers!


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