Tiramisu

Tiramisu, meaning “pick-me-up”, is one of the most popular Italian desserts in the U.S. You’ll find it on most Italian restaurant menus. It’s rich, custardy layers of biscuits soaked in espresso and topped with chocolatey goodness. I’ve shyed away from making it because I thought it looked putsy and difficult.

When I was on vacation at a cooking school in Tuscany a few years back, we made it for dinner and I realized how truly simple it is to make. What I love about Italian desserts is that they aren’t overly sweet. Rich yes, but not syrupy sweet like most desserts we make in this country.

When I was gathering ingredients for this recipe, I realized I didn’t have any ladyfingers (Pavesini) on hand. I’m an hour away from any decent Italian market so I decided I’d try my hand at making them. Like the Tiramisu, they are pretty simple and can be made ahead.

So don’t be intimidated by this dessert — give it a try!

I used 2 recipes to make this Tiramisu — one from my Toscana Saporita cookbook and the other from Giada De Laurentiis. I did so because when I made this in Italy, we cooked the eggs because they were farm fresh. With pasteurized eggs in the U.S., it’s not as critical to cook them, so I used Giada’s recipe to see what steps to use for preparing this sans cooking.
tiramisu_for_crowd | paulasitaliankitchen.com

Tiramisu
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Tiramisu, meaning “pick-me-up”, is one of the most popular Italian desserts in the U.S. You’ll find it on most Italian restaurant menus. It’s rich, custardy layers of biscuits soaked in espresso and topped with chocolatey goodness.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert, dolce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6+
Ingredients
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) of mascarpone, softened
  • ½ pint heavy cream
  • 4-6 cups of brewed and cooled espresso with 2 tablespoons of dark rum added (preferrably an Italian coffee like Illy or Lavazza)
  • 1 double recipe of Pavesini (ladyfingers) or ½ pound of prepared sponge cake
  • 3-5 tablespoons of cocoa powder for dusting
  • 1 square of bittersweet chocolate, shaved for garnish
Preparation
  1. Place the mascarpone in a medium bowl and allow to soften for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Using a small chilled bowl and beaters, whip heavy cream and set aside in refrigerator.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar with a mixer on high until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add to the mascarpone and beat until smooth and velvety.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of the rum/coffee mixture and combine.
  6. Gently fold the whip cream into the mascarpone mixture, combine well and return to refrigerator.
  7. Put the cooled espresso in a shallow bowl large enough to dip ladyfingers. Dip both sides in espresso so that biscuits are soaked, but not falling apart.
  8. Place soaked ladyfingers in a 13 x 9 pan* so that there is a single layer covering the bottom of the pan. Break some in half if you need smaller pieces to cover entire bottom of pan.
  9. Spread ½ the mascarpone mixture in an even layer on top of the ladyfingers.
  10. Sift a light layer of cocoa powder on top of mascarpone.
  11. Follow the same steps to make another layer, finishing with the sprinkle of cocoa powder.
  12. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours until set.
  13. Before serving Tiramisu, sprinkle the top with chocolate shavings.
  14. *Alternately, you could use individual ramekins. Make just one layer by placing the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom, topping with mascarpone mixture and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Prep time: 25 minutes; total time 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) of mascarpone, softened
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 4-6 cups of brewed and cooled espresso with 2 tablespoons of dark rum added (preferrably an Italian coffee like Illy or Lavazza)
  • 1 double recipe of Pavesini (ladyfingers) or 1/2 pound of prepared sponge cake
  • 3-5 tablespoons of cocoa powder for dusting
  • 1 square of bittersweet chocolate, shaved for garnish

Preparation:
Place the mascarpone in a medium bowl and allow to soften for 15-30 minutes.

Using a small chilled bowl and beaters, whip heavy cream and set aside in refrigerator.

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar with a mixer on high until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.

Add to the mascarpone and beat until smooth and velvety.

Add 1 tablespoon of the rum/coffee mixture and combine.

Gently fold the whip cream into the mascarpone mixture, combine well and return to refrigerator.

Put the cooled espresso in a shallow bowl large enough to dip ladyfingers. Dip both sides in espresso so that biscuits are soaked, but not falling apart.

Place soaked ladyfingers in a 13 x 9 pan* so that there is a single layer covering the bottom of the pan. Break some in half if you need smaller pieces to cover entire bottom of pan.

Spread 1/2 the mascarpone mixture in an even layer on top of the ladyfingers.

Sift a light layer of cocoa powder on top of mascarpone.

Follow the same steps to make another layer, finishing with the sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours until set.

Before serving Tiramisu, sprinkle the top with chocolate shavings.

*Alternately, you could use individual ramekins. Make just one layer by placing the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom, topping with mascarpone mixture and a dusting of cocoa powder.

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