This Taste of Magnolia article was first appeared in February/March 2023 issue of EDM.
By Divian Conner
Holidays have always been important to me. Growing up, my mother would decorate for each and every holiday and it was really a big deal. From the tablescape to the carport, front door and garage, every holiday was amplified with the coordinating decor. It was something I looked forward to – what theme will make its appearance this time?
Each February is touted as the month of love. Even though my Christmas tree is still up and lit each night, I look forward to the heart shaped chocolate boxes, conversation hearts and Valentine cards. Valentine’s Day really pulls at the heartstrings and brings with it a sensation of gratitude and the utmost showcasing of love. Chocolate candies, truffles and pink gummies mix with pink and purple confetti and candles. It is a time when I really want to express the love I have for my children, family and friends, so I always try to make something that we have not had before. I want the experience to mimic a trip to a 5-star restaurant but with the close intimacy of being at home.
Over the last few years, the importance of holidays has shifted. I still celebrate them with my family and loved ones but we have adopted a “celebrate anytime” approach these days: there’s no reason to wait for them! We want to celebrate our love for one another throughout the year, no matter the day. I often surprise my kids (and friends) with a table complete with Neapolitan ice cream tub and store-bought cake just because. Even though it takes only an idea for me to celebrate a holiday on an unofficial day, there is still something so special about February 14th and what it means. It is a day of love, a day of expression, a day of gratitude and thankfulness to others. It is showing those who mean so much to us that they are special, appreciated, and loved. What better way to celebrate them than with food?
When it comes to that beautiful day of connected hearts and cupid arrows, dessert is always the one decadent thing most do not want to miss out on. This year I am opting for Matcha Tiramisu, a recipe discovered while browsing international cafés online. My friends and I are all tea lovers and have a strong appreciation for a good Southern sweet iced tea; my family members are also avid fans of matcha. While I adore a nice creamy traditional tiramisu, my children, sadly do not share that same adoration. Compromise seems to be a great way of showcasing love and this recipe is just that–a showcase of love. When planning your Valentine dinner, why not consider this amazingly good Matcha Tiramisu. Everyone will fall in love.
Begin with the Matcha Castella Cake. Ingredients:
2 cups cake or bread flour
¼ cup honey
3 Tablespoons milk
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons matcha powder
Directions for the cake:
Line a 9 x 13” cake pan with parchment paper.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.
In small pan, melt the honey with the milk–do not boil. Mix well.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and add in the milk and honey mixture. Add to the flour, stirring gently until it makes a thick batter.
Mix in the matcha and then pour into cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Once cake has cooled, cut into a square, and then cut the square into two equal layers.
Meanwhile, make the mascarpone filling.
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
8 ounces whipped topping/cream
2-3 Tablespoons sugar
Mix all ingredients until smooth. Add more sugar for desired sweetness but keep in mind, honey drizzle will add to the sweetness.
For the matcha honey
1 teaspoon matcha powder
8 Tablespoons honey
Mix well until blended
Assemble the tiramisu:
Using about half the filling, fill cake with the mascarpone mixture. Place the second layer on top and use the remaining filling to “frost” the cake. Cut into 9 pieces, each 3” x 3” and sift matcha powder over each cake slice. Top with seasonal fruit (I used Shine Muscat grapes and pink-a-boo pink strawberries) and matcha honey.