Apricot and Matcha Tiramisu

6 July 2009

We’re in the middle of a heat wave, as if trying to make up for the disappointing last couple of summers – although I’m not complaining (except when I’m on the tube) – it really is lovely to enjoy the hot and long days (and I can actually wear some cute summer dresses that I bought a couple of years ago and never had a chance to even take out from the wardrobe!). Summer wasn’t my favourite season when I was in Japan (although I sometimes miss those fireworks and the really humid nights…) but here in the UK, it definitely is – and it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy the abundance of fruits and vegetables at this time of year.

Encouraged by this hot weather, the plants and flowers are thriving in our little garden too. A jasmine tree that our friend gave us a few years ago has flowered prolifically this year, perfuming the garden with a heavenly scent (aren’t those delicate little white flowers just beautiful…). I had a really good harvest on my red currants too – they were sent to my ice cream machine straight away to be made into a tangy sorbet :)

Apricots aren’t my first choice when it comes to summer fruits, but they taste really lovely in this dessert and I wanted to share the recipe, the original version of which is from one of my favourite Japanese books (I think now sadly out of print). I’ve been making it with tinned apricots as the recipe suggests and it’s always turned out delicious – but I wanted to try with fresh fruit this time.

Although I named it tiramisu, it’s not really like the ‘standard’ one you might think of. It’s more of an apricot mousse cake with matcha sponge topped with mascarpone cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. The combination may not sound very convincing, but each component has quite a subtle flavour and it’s very light. I’ve noticed that fresh apricots lend a stronger taste to the mousse than tinned – I actually liked them both, but if you’re using tinned you probably don’t need to add the sugar in the mascarpone cream. Also, if you’re using fresh you can omit the vanilla if you prefer a ‘purer’ apricot flavour. I admit that it’s not as easy as making tiramisu, but it is delicious and I hope you’ll have a go sometime :)

This isn’t strictly food related, but I wanted to share some snaps from my friends Alastair and Jane‘s beautiful South London home – I’ve known them since last summer when I was invited to their lovely place in Portugal. It was wonderful to visit them here in London and to meet all the family – including Rosie (the doggy) and Bea (the kitty).

Their house is filled with beautiful light, and as a fan of clean and simple interiors myself, I was ooh-ing and aah-ing at everything, including those vintage Ercol chairs I’ve been after! It’s no surprise that their place looks so beautiful – Jane has been working as an interior design journalist for a long time, and her magic touch makes their house always in demand for location shoots (including the BBC’s Lead Balloon – kind of a UK version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but more cynical and very funny in its own right).

Jane is working on a new book at the moment and I can’t wait to read a copy – her blog is always an inspiration with her beautiful writing and images too. She is a wonderful cook (she grows many things in her garden) and I’m hoping to do some cookery sessions in their beautiful kitchen on my next visit…

I hope you are enjoying the glorious summer too (or whatever season you are in) and that I can post some more delicious summer recipes before too long. Oh and before I go, if you have a chance have a look at my interview on the Times website.

Apricot and Matcha Tiramisu

makes about 1 × 25cm square

For the matcha sponge

2 large eggs
60g caster sugar
60g plain flour
3g matcha
15ml whole milk
10g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the apricot mousse

350g apricots (after pitting)
250ml water
100g sugar
1 vanilla bean (cut lengthways and scrape the seeds out)

4g gelatine sheet
150ml double cream
2 egg whites
75g caster sugar

For the mascarpone cream

100ml double cream
15g caster sugar (you may not need it if you’re using tinned apricots)
30g mascarpone cheese

To make the matcha sponge, preheat the oven at 170ºC. Sift the flour and matcha together. Mix the eggs and sugar in a bowl and place on a bain marie, constantly whisking. Take the bowl off when it’s around 35ºC (warm but not hot when you touch the bottom of the bowl) and continue whisking until ribbon stage (when the mixture leaves trails as it falls from your whisk).

Carefully add the milk – try not to lose the texture by eg pouring it slowly over a wooden spoon rather than directly into the mixture. Gently fold the flour and matcha, followed by the melted butter, in the same way.

Spread the batter thinly on a baking sheet and bake for about 12-13 minutes or until firm and dry to touch. Set aside and cool.

To make the apricot mousse, soak the gelatine in cold water. Place the water, 100g sugar and vanilla seeds (as well as the pod) in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, add the apricots and simmer for about 5 minutes until just tender. When cool, strain the apricots through a fine sieve (you’ll get about 250g puree) and add 50ml syrup from the pan. Reserve some syrup and discard the solids.

(If you’re using tinned apricots, puree 250g fruit and strain through a fine sieve, then add 50ml syrup from the tin. Reserve some syrup for soaking the sponge.)

Squeeze out the gelatine, melt in a bain marie and stir into the puree. Whip the double cream into soft peaks (it’s important that the puree and cream have a similar consistency). Make the meringue with the egg whites and 75g sugar – whip the egg white until foamy, add the sugar a little at a time, whipping as you go along. When the puree is slightly set, gently fold the cream and meringue into it.

To make the mascarpone cream, place the double cream and sugar in a bowl and whip into soft peaks then mix the cheese in.

To assemble the cake, cut two pieces of sponge to the size of your mould (I used a 25cm square ring). Place the sponge in the mould as a base and brush with the left over syrup, pour the mousse, then place the other sponge on top.

Freeze the cake until firm enough to slice (you don’t need to but it helps to cut neatly), layer the mascarpone cream on top and dust with cocoa powder just before serving.

Food - Sweet    Places    56 comments    Permalink

  • Jane certainly has a wonderful home. I just check out her blog as well. I am not surprise that she’ll write a book.

    I will check out your interview after this….

    Thanks for the recipe Keiko. I always tempted to make what ever you made in this blog. This is definitely my next thing to make.

    Posted by elra | 6 July 2009 #
  • Hi Keiko, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now, I simply love your pictures! Congratulations on your photography career and interview with the Times…inspiring stuff!

    Posted by Danielle | 6 July 2009 #
  • Elra – Jane has written a few books and they are all beautiful and inspiring (you can see them on her website).

    Posted by keiko | 6 July 2009 #
  • i’ve made a matcha tiramisu in the past, but the apricot one sounds divine! the flavors do sound like they go well together.

    beautiful photos of alastair and jane’s. lifestyle mag material. just gorgeous.

    Posted by rick | 7 July 2009 #
  • Beautiful photos of such a lovely home. The apricot and matcha tiramisu sounds so light and delicious. Congratulations on the interview!

    Posted by lisa (dandysugar) | 7 July 2009 #
  • Nordljius:

    This looks delicious and thank you for the wonderful photos too. I have 2 questions:

    What camera lens did you use to take these photos?

    Is double cream same as heavy cream (here in the US)?


    Posted by Dory | 7 July 2009 #
  • Simply stunning!

    Posted by cherie | 7 July 2009 #
  • I had a delicious moment reading this post! your photos are beautiful, ane your friend has a beautiful house. I was reading a decoration magazine… Thank you for the link to last year holiday in Portugal… I missed this post! I’ve bought Matcha tea in Japan last year… I use it in desserts like ice creams and macaron… I’ll try your Tiramisu!

    Posted by Dominique (de vous à moi...) | 7 July 2009 #
  • wow beautiful pictures…came through times here..and I must say its worth the trip!...great job!


    Posted by Srivalli | 7 July 2009 #
  • Hi Keiko :) This tiramisù sounds really tasty.. indeed is more difficult than the original version but in summer I think this one’s better :))
    Have a great, great summer!!

    Posted by chiara.u | 7 July 2009 #
  • i love your creation with matcha

    Posted by latifa | 7 July 2009 #
  • wow that’s a fabulous recipe and i’m going to give it a try – afterall i’ve just been given some matcha tea by my friend :)

    Posted by Lil | 7 July 2009 #
  • K,

    What a lovely place your friends have there!

    Now the first thing that came to my mind as I saw the lead pictures and the title here was dessert that I think was called Bergeron, featured in one of the first books by Minami Watanabe. I remember trying it a LONG time ago soon after the book came out and liking it, despite the fact that I never really liked (and still don’t) apricot.

    I hope you are enjoying the summery weather – stay away from heat when can, though! -c x

    Posted by chika | 8 July 2009 #
  • please tell jane i’ll be moving into her home. just stunning. though it pales in comparison to that gorgeous tiramisu of yours!

    Posted by kiss my spatula | 8 July 2009 #
  • I really like the way how you capture the mood in each picture !

    Posted by Vanille | 9 July 2009 #
  • Oh Keiko, this is so pretty! Loving every picture. I am so going to be making this. Perhaps for my family when i visit them in a few weeks in France! This is also inspiring to finish my pot of matcha tea and buy some more in Paris at Mariage freres when i go.

    Posted by bea | 10 July 2009 #
  • I love every bit of this blog and the pictures are just lovely. Thanks for making my day Keiko! Your blog is one of my sweet escapes.:)

    Posted by Nur Suraya | 10 July 2009 #
  • what a beautiful home filed with light! that certainly describes my ideal surrounding. the recipe sounds so good and the photos are wonderful as always. can never get enough keiko!

    Posted by Aran | 10 July 2009 #
  • You took me to another place with your pictures on this post. Thanks for that. What a lovely home.

    Interesting tiramisu combination – looks divine.

    Posted by gastroanthropologist | 10 July 2009 #
  • こんにちは。

    Posted by y_and_r_d | 11 July 2009 #
  • perfect and original tiramisu !! bravo !

    Posted by Mercotte | 11 July 2009 #
  • I found your blog recently and absolutely love your posts and photos. Your tiramisu is perfect for this hot summer. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Posted by History of Greek Food | 11 July 2009 #
  • Hi Keiko

    I’m such a huge fan of your website and recipes, I’ve linked to you on my website. I hope you don’t mind.
    I hope to get hold of some matcha so that I can try your absolutely delicious sounding recipe – yum!

    Louise x

    Posted by Louise | 12 July 2009 #
  • Oh your photos soooooooooo inspire me. What a lovely read….thanks. And…grin…of course…the tiramisu is wonderful tooo..grin!

    Posted by trish | 12 July 2009 #
  • Dear Keiko, Thank you for the recipe,
    i will try it, we have such good apricots here in Switzerland!

    A bientôt

    Posted by sooishi | 12 July 2009 #
  • I think these are my favorite shots of yours. Such life, light and fun.The tiramisu looks wonderful, and I just completely adore the shots you took of your friends place. Such composition and lighting, and a real delicate hand with processing. What a beautiful house, and the pictures seem to capture that perfectly

    Posted by matt | 17 July 2009 #
  • Hola Keiko!
    I’m just a big fan, I love your work and your desserts, your photos make me love cuisine more than i already do _

    ¡Saludos desde México!

    Posted by Fátima | 17 July 2009 #
  • Hello Keiko:)
    Last night i found your blog accidentally. It was the best “accident” lately. I was speechless, that is why i write now, i needed a night to gather some words to describe something what doesn’t need words to be commented. The feeling is enough. That calm purity what each of your photos plant in the soul of the viewer. There is something chic but innocent here, something what really shows your love for life, cooking and colors/light. I know this blog for me will become something like an island of positive energy and calm in the fast modern days. I found peace here, i found purity, colors in their vivid reality. You have eye for the crispy, juicy details, for the beauty of tiny things, for textures, and you have vein for vacuuming the viewer into this wonderful atmosphere. I am really happy and grateful you share your talent with the world:)

    I am a fashion designer, but as a hobby i cook and also take culinary photos with a silly little camera for almost 2 years:) But what i have seen here is something like a dream, inspiring, calming and refreshing. it’s atemporal and etheric. Love it

    Posted by Andrea B. Veress | 17 July 2009 #
  • Keiko-san

    Apricots and matcha pair pretty well and I love them with bitter chocolate too :)

    I was going to make exactly the same point as chika-san indeed. It seems the weather turns to tropical (or like “tsuyu”) these days but I really hope this summer will be just like continuous heat wave. Forever summer, as people say, and I say too…

    Posted by kitsch-en | 18 July 2009 #
  • Hello Keiko,
    Such a wonderful site, hope we can share some ideas, goodluck to you. Had been to UK since I have cousines from Reethe. I will try making this Tiramisu.Visit me okay.

    Chef KC

    Posted by KC | 18 July 2009 #
  • i adore your blog! i found it through an article —- it’s truly wonderful and the photos are amazing :) keep it up! i’ve bookmarked it into my list of blogs to read ;-)

    Posted by lette | 19 July 2009 #
  • those pictures make me wish i had a home that was so beautiful, light, and airy. What a gorgeous place to live.

    Posted by Alejandra | 21 July 2009 #
  • Absolutely love your photos, recipes and your ability to capture tiny but beautiful objects surrounding us…

    Since I’ve bought a tiny can of matcha from Ito-En’s flagship store in NY, I now have no excuse not to try your recipe…

    Posted by jeewon | 22 July 2009 #
  • I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now but I tried one of your recipe for the first time. I have to say I changed it a little, but this apricot mousse is just perfect! All family enjoyed it lots. Thank you for sharing it!

    Posted by Anne | 24 July 2009 #
  • Beautiful pictures! And the food looks tempting. Will definitely try!

    Posted by savorychicks | 24 July 2009 #
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have restored my faith and passion for desserts. After studying by myself for about 3 years, I lost interest as my boring job sucked all the passion I used to have for pastry out of me. Your blog has inspired me to renew my passion for making desserts. Thank you and please keep up the AMAZING work!

    Posted by Henry | 25 July 2009 #
  • Coming to your blog Keiko is always like a breath of fresh air!
    You are the master of photography as far as I am concerned!!

    Posted by Tartelette | 25 July 2009 #
  • Keiko,
    I’ve probably looked at this particular post numerous times for the beauty of the moments that you have captured. Thank you!

    Posted by dennis | 26 July 2009 #
  • Keiko,
    Loved your Blog and the Photographs were stunning. I would love to make the Tiramisu, but I am a vegatarian. Could you suggest a suitable subsitute for Gelatine?
    Thank you for sharing your love of cookery with us all!

    Posted by Greenplum | 26 July 2009 #
  • Everything here is stunning. Love the tiramisu & creative flavours! GORGEOUS!! Can’t stop looking at it; wish I had some matcha…sigh!

    Posted by deeba | 27 July 2009 #
  • wow.
    your pictures are the BEST I’ve seen. Seriously. THE BEST

    Posted by Florence | 28 July 2009 #
  • Wow!! What refreshment, your blog is lovely!!

    Posted by LoveFeast Table | 29 July 2009 #
  • 相変わらずおいしそうっすね。食べたいです~。And congratulations on your articile in the Times!

    Posted by Tamami | 29 July 2009 #
  • Hi Keiko, genki!!! i just discovered your page and i really loved it, your photos are, as everybody mentioned stunning. I have seen that use matcha a lot, and i love it, green tea ice cream is my favourite! I am a spanish living in london for many years, and i also have a food blog, i would love if you come around if you hace a moment (www.pityinthekitchen.blogspot.com)



    Posted by pity | 31 July 2009 #
  • Wow, everything is so beautiful – as usual! Love the combination of flavours for a tiramisu. Fantastic photos, too! I want to devour everything.

    Posted by Julie | 2 August 2009 #
  • cool pics…such a nice phhotos…and the recipe sounds so healthy…would love to see more

    Posted by Making Recipe | 4 August 2009 #
  • Keiko,
    It has been far too long since I’ve sat down and soaked in the beauty of your photos and writing. The “tiramisu” sounds divine. I can envision the tastes and textures as you describe them and I become happy inside. And of course the pictures are stunning, as always. You capture the beautiful comfort of your friends home so well. It is truly beautiful how your photography is so incredible in so many dynamic situations.
    P.S. Thank you very much for the mention in the Time article. We are deeply honored.
    Todd & Diane

    Posted by White On Rice Couple | 6 August 2009 #
  • Thanks a lot! I’m also a gourmet and pastry enthusiast and this would really go to my compilation. I would also like to share. I came across a good site about European and Swiss cooking ( http://swisscookbook.com )which also gives free sample family-secret recipes.

    Posted by Leon Gregory | 9 August 2009 #
  • Hello Keiko~

    I have been waiting for the recipe since you first posted it some time back! I made this over the weekend and it was a huge hit among family and friends! It is a beautiful creation that is equally delicious! Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe with us~

    Posted by Vi | 9 August 2009 #
  • Beautiful, beautiful photos. We’ve just started a food blog. Just getting going. Your’s is an inspiration!

    Posted by Robert Lee | 11 August 2009 #
  • Hi! Lovely blog!

    I used to think that apricots were one of the few fruits that were better dried than fresh. Their texture always put me off. But apricots and matcha sounds like a truly inspired pairing.

    Posted by Michael Booth | 11 August 2009 #
  • Hi everyone, thank you so much for all your kind notes.

    Rick – the pairing is really lovely, hope you’ll get to try it sometime :)

    Dory – I’ve been using a Canon 5D for two years now. And yes, double cream is heavy cream in the US :)

    Dominique, Lil, Bea, Jeewon – I hope you can save some of your matcha for this recipe :)

    Chika – yes you guessed it right :) I still use her books all the time, hope you’ll have another go with fresh apricots.

    y_and-r-d-san – y_and-r-dさんのお宅もほんとうに素敵です!いつかおじゃまして、ルゥちゃんに会うのが夢です(笑)

    Andrea – I’m honoured by your kind words, thank you!

    Anne – glad you enjoyed it!

    Henry – thank you, I hope you started enjoying baking again!

    Greenplum – you can use Kanten (agar-agar), search for gelatine substitute and be sure to check how much to use in place of gelatine, hope that helps.

    Todd & Diane – I just love everything about your site, keep inspiring us!

    Vi – glad you enjoyed it, your creations are always so beautiful!

    Michael – I hope you’ll have a go sometime, the apricot mousse is lovely :)

    Posted by keiko | 14 August 2009 #
  • oh keiko, gorgeous, as always, and what a unique pairing of flavours, i can just imagine the contrast of tart fruitiness and bitter grassiness! i am ear-marking this recipe to try soonest

    Posted by Joycelyn | 20 August 2009 #
  • Greeting from San Diego~
    Hello Keiko san, how are you?
    O Hi Sa Shi Bu Ri De Su!!

    What a lovely photos & sweets!!
    Apricot & Matcha Tiramisu sounds very fun & yummy!! I always admire your creativity!!

    I read the Times website just now. Keiko san, Congratulations! When I read your interview that your last supper will be either Zaru Soba or Udon, it made me smile :-)

    Posted by junko | 20 September 2009 #
  • Your work is amazing! I really enjoy going through your blog. It’s inspiring!

    Posted by Tina dela Rosa | 1 October 2009 #
  • Hi Keiko, greetings from Canada!

    I stumbled upon your site a couple days ago & the first thing I noticed was the photography work, which was AMAZING btw, very beautiful photos.

    Secondly, I noticed the mouth-drooling desserts you blog about; I wish I had a talent for baking to make such irresistible desserts! Also, thanks for posting some recipes up, I will definitely test my baking skills and see what comes out of my oven haha

    Posted by D | 19 October 2011 #

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