Actually, it IS possible to ruin tiramisu following this recipe. An article in The Washington Post several years ago was written by someone who came from someplace (alas, I forget which) where “ladyfingers” refers to okra. As a result, she sliced okra, soaked it in coffee, and proceeded from there. It was not a pretty sight and, seemingly, tasted worse than it looked.
Ladyfingers in the tiramisu! What a hoot! The South is SO worthwhile. Mr. Henry’s dear friend Trudy, bound in the shallows and miseries of Washington, DC, reported lately that one of her friends there promised to keep her “abreasted” of new developments, and this surely is one.
As it happens, okra is one of Mr. Henry’s secret lunchtime quick-fix foods. He places them in a bowl, rinses them, covers them with a dish, and nukes those fuzzy ladyfingers for two minutes. That’s it. Total preparation time: two minutes and change. Don’t eat the gnarly lil’ stems, by the way. (Mr. Henry is fearful that his reading audience might abandon all common sense in slavish devotion to his recipes.) The rest of the okra is a crunchy and gelatinous treat, a toothsome combination of green vegetable and nutty seeds.