If there is one thing the French love, it's verrines, or anything food that can be made "individual". The verrine trend seems to be being replaced by the "American" dessert trend in which French people make an adorable effort to make brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and cheesecakes. Although, as an aside, I did recently eat at a cupcake restaurant in Besançon (yes, you read that right, a restaurant devoted to cupcakes) called Cake and the City, and I was quite impressed with the quality of the cupcakes. Back to the verrines. Basically anything you put in a little glass jar and eat with a spoon, be it sweet or savory, constitutes a verrine. They are the perfect thing for a dinner party because it's better to make them in advance, they are individual so it seems special, and the possibilities are endless. Those of you who were at Prof. Hayes' dinner party for Intro to Graduate Studies may remember the panna cotta verrines with balsamic strawberries...
What I made was basically a cross between a tiramisu and cherry trifle. The creamy layer was the same creamy layer you find in tiramisu, and I started by slowly warming three egg yolks over a bain marie. All good tiramisu recipes have egg yolks, the question is whether to leave them raw or cook them gently over indirect heat. I always use cooked eggs for my fillings, and not because I'm some kind of raw egg sissy (I eat cake batter all the time and I love real Caesar salad dressing) but because I prefer the texture of the finished product. Cooked eggs yield a thicker custard, raw eggs in the mascarpone filling mean it will be runnier.
So cook the egg yolks with 100 grams of sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and very warm when you put your finger in it. You'll notice the texture change as well. Then remove from the heat and whisk in 350 grams of mascarpone cheese. Filling done! Now on to assembly!
I used jarred cherries and lady fingers (called boudoirs in French, lol) dipped in a mixture of the cherry liquid and kirsch. First put down a layer of soaked lady fingers and cherries. Then pour over the mascarpone. This recipe is so easy you don't even need to ask your French boyfriend to help, see:
Then another layer of lady fingers, cherries, then the mascarpone. Put it in the fridge overnight, dust with cocoa powder before serving!