Custard, sponge cake, and coffee — tiramisù is about as classic as you can get with Italian desserts. It's made with soft, coffee-dipped cookies layered with a rich mixture of mascarpone cheese, sugar, and eggs, and topped with a dusting of cocoa powder. Though it's a celebrated dessert, trying to trace tiramisù to its origins won't give you concrete answers, but we do know three things: it is delicious, it is Italian, and the literal translation of 'tiramisù' is not "pick-me-up," despite what the internet tells you. However, this recipe can be considered a pick-me-up and with a little bit of background on this confection, you can whip it up so easily, you might consider yourself an honorary Italian for the day.
There are three major elements that make up tiramisù: the fluffy egg and cheese mixture (yes, this is a dessert!), the cookies, and the coffee. It's not hard to put it all together — this recipe is fool-proof; it only requires a few simple ingredients and the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow to complete it in 30 minutes. But if you're making tiramisù for the first time, it's helpful to be comfortable with a whisk and an electric mixer.
Eggs And Cheese
The eggs and cheese are transformed into a fluffy mousse-like layer to top the cookies.
1) First, the eggs are separated.
2) The whites are then whipped into foam and the yolks are whisked with sugar and gently heated over a double boiler (a heat-resistant bowl that fits over a pan of simmering water) to make a loose custard.
3) The cheese (mascarpone) is whipped to soften it.
4) The egg whites and the custard are then folded into the cheese.
If you're not familiar with ladyfingers, you're in for a sweet treat! Called 'savoiardi' in Italian, they are sponge cake cookies shaped to (kind of) resemble fingers. Made with just a few simple ingredients, they're fairly easy to make. This recipe makes about three dozen but to cut down on cook time for tiramisù, you can find ladyfingers at most grocery stores.
Coffee Vs Espresso In Tiramisù
Most traditional tiramisù recipes are made with Italian espresso, but you can use either coffee or espresso for this recipe. If you don't have an espresso maker but want the true tiramisù experience, strong coffee is best, but you can use decaf coffee if you want the flavor without the caffeine. This recipe calls for sugared coffee, so you'll need to add a spoonful of sugar to your brewed coffee or espresso. Some recipes you see for tiramisù call for instant espresso powder, but in this case, you'll need a full cup of coffee.
There is no one recipe for tiramisù — there are many ways to make it. Here are a couple of ways to make yours a little different.
Swap mascarpone for ricotta: If you don't have mascarpone cheese on hand, or prefer the flavor of ricotta, feel free to that instead of the mascarpone.
Add zabaglione: Many tiramisù recipes call for zabaglione (zabaione or sabayon), which is kind of like custard made with marsala wine, egg yolks, and sugar, but it's a bit looser than custard — in Italy, people even use it like cream in their coffee. In the case of this recipe, you are making a crème anglaise which is zabaglione without the wine, so if you want to make it slightly boozy, you can add up to 1/4 cup of sweet wine to the egg yolks and sugar before combining everything with the mascarpone.
Mix in chopped nuts: To add a bit of texture, feel free to add in a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts to your mixture, and sprinkle over the top of your tiramisù.
Make it vanilla: For added flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cream mixture. Vanilla blends wonderfully with the ladyfingers and the mascarpone.
Tiramisù will keep well in the fridge for up to four days, but not much longer. The bubbles in the eggs will start to deflate and the ladyfingers can become slightly soggy after a few days so while the flavor deepens the later you leave it, it probably won't hold its shape.
Serve And Enjoy
This dessert would be the perfect ending to a big Italian feast. Follow your pasta dinner with a cup of espresso and a serving of homemade tiramisù, or enjoy it for a holiday dessert. It's delicious all on its own.
- 4 eggs
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 500 grams mascarpone cheese
- 250 grams ladyfingers (about 24 cookies)
- 1 cup coffee
- cocoa powder (for dusting)
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
- Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Using a heat-resistant bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until slightly foamy.
- Place the heat-resistant bowl over a pan of simmering water and continue whisking the egg mixture until its about doubled in volume, the color is a pale yellow, and the consistency is similar to syrup. (The continuous movement prevents the egg from scrambling.)
- Remove the bowl from the simmering water.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone until it's soft.
- Add half of the egg yolk mixture to the mascarpone and whisk until smooth. Add the other half of the yolk mixture and continue to whisk until smooth. This prevents the mascarpone from clumping.
- Carefully fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.
- Dunk the ladyfingers in the sugared coffee as quickly as possible. Letting them soak for even a second will make your tiramisu soggy.
- Line the bottom of a 1.5 quart or 6 x 9.5 x 2-inch baking dish with moistened ladyfingers. Spread half (300g or 1 1/2 cups) of the cream mixture on top of the cookies. Add another layer of cookies followed by another layer of cream.
- Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
|Calories730Calories from Fat360|
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|Calories from Fat360|
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.