‘The Catholic Chef,’ With a Recipe for Tiramisu

‘Comfort food is so much more meaningful when we attach a spiritual memento to it,’ says Kristen Maheu

Tiramisu and Catholic chef Kristen Maheu
Tiramisu and Catholic chef Kristen Maheu (photo: Left: Min Che / Pexels / CC0. Right: Kristen Maheu.)

Kristen Maheu is the business manager with Florida Catholic Media, a Florida-based Catholic news outlet serving the Dioceses of Orlando, Palm Beach and Venice, and the Archdiocese of Miami. In addition to supporting her colleagues, Kristen serves up different tested recipes twice a week curated from the internet and family cookbooks. In her own words below, Kristen has provided details about her Catholic life and her cooking:

It might sound cliché, but growing up in an Irish and Italian family, food was more than sustenance. It was a vehicle for gatherings. A vehicle to exude joyous celebrations whether weddings, first Communions, graduations; a vehicle to remember loved ones who might have always burnt the dinner rolls or made the most amazing Sunday sauce. A vehicle for hope for when family was huddled around a darkened table during a storm or huddled around that table in prayer for a loved one who was suffering. All while we waited for the soup to chill a bit.
Comfort food is so much more meaningful when we attach a spiritual memento to it, isn’t it? It’s like that scene in Ratatouille when a bite of a simple, signature dish transports the hardened old critic to his childhood days enjoying his mama’s cooking. I tear up just thinking about that scene. I guess that’s because food and cooking aren’t just a noun and a verb; it’s so much more — promises, family, memories, even tit-for-tat kind of memories, like ‘I bet I can make Aunt Vera’s Cannoli shell better if I use a touch more marsala wine.’ (Don’t tell my Aunt Vera I said that.)
Basically, I grew up in Connecticut in a closely-knit family. The Catholic Church always had a large influence on our lives. We knew nuns. We knew priests. One of my closest friends as an adult was my former headmistress in high school, Sister Madeleine. And cooking? Well, I’m sure other people had a similar experience where the joy of cooking was learned as much from osmosis as it was from stained family recipe cards — and ‘doing time’ with Sister Edna in the school garden and kitchen for any (alleged) infraction. I like to cook because I like to give. I also like to be given compliments, which is a little selfish, but, come on, some of the dishes I learned from my Nonna and Sister Edna are awesome.
Yes, there are things my husband and my son prefer. And now that my son is a chef in his own right — proud mama here — I think it is safe to say that he has already forgotten more about cooking than I know.
But in all seriousness, seeing him embrace cooking — and on a professional level to boot — is a fantastic thing to watch. Not only can he take things from his own childhood, but he certainly will be able to teach me a thing or two.
I mean, I did make Aunt Vera’s Cannoli recipe go from ‘it’s nice,’ to ‘oh man, that’s awesome.’
With our relaunched brand, we knew that we wanted to add features that bring people together – movies, books, food.
When it came time to launch, I thought, well, I’m no Martha Stewart. ‘Recipes curated by Kristen Maheu’ is not click-worthy. ‘The Catholic Chef’ is.


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Recipe: Simple Tiramisu

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup prepared coffee
  • 1 double shot espresso
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
  • 20 ladyfingers (a light, oblong Italian cookie with powdered sugar on one side)
  • cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate shavings



  1. Chill whipping cream and bowl of electric mixer (or standard metal mixing bowl). Mix coffee and espresso and chill.
  2. Whisk the whipping cream until it reaches stiff peaks. This can be accomplished in a few minutes with an electric mixer or by hand (times will vary depending on arm strength and stamina).
  3. Put the cheese, sugar, and Kahlua into a medium bowl and mix until smooth. 
  4. Fold in the whipped cream to create the cheese mixture.
  5. Soak ladyfingers in espresso for a few seconds, rotating to coat all sides.
  6. Place ladyfingers side by side on bottom of an 8x8 inch pan.
  7. Put half the cheese mixture on ladyfingers in pan. Smooth with a spatula or spoon. Sift cocoa powder liberally on surface of layer.
  8. Apply second layer of ladyfingers and remaining cheese mixture. Sift cocoa powder and half of chocolate shavings. Cover in plastic wrap and chill.
  9. To serve, use the remaining chocolate shavings by sprinkling a bit onto eight plates. Cut tiramisu into eight rectangles and serve.