The literal translation of Tiramisu is “pick-me up!” Those espresso drenched ladyfingers and high levels of sugar see to that alright.
Tiramisu is hands down my favorite Italian dessert. Beats gelato and panna cotta for me any day, but I’m happy to accept differing opinions on this. This has been my party staple for a good couple of years now and has always gone down very well. I mean, who wouldn’t love Tiramisu? It is such a deliciously decadent dessert, filled with caffeine, sugar and packed with calories courtesy of the eggs and mascarpone cheese.
Tiramisu is a relatively easy dessert to make, but you do need to set aside a good hour for prep time, and make sure you prepare it a good 8+ hours before serving time so that it has time to set in the fridge. While I was in Sardinia (where I was born and grew up before moving to Ireland) last week, my friend Antonio and I made this Tiramisu based on his recipe, which is a pretty generic one. The lighting was terribly good in the kitchen so I apologize for the quality of the photos. To make up for it, I have added a picture at the end of a beautifully presented Marocchino that I had in the lovely northern port town of Alghero. Marocchino is an espresso with foamed milk and cocoa in a little glass cup. I have also added an image of my time on the beach there. Honestly, beaches are just the best!!!
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
- 250g of mascarpone cheese
- 8 espresso shots
- 4 egg yolks & 6 egg whites
- 5 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 pack of lady fingers (approx 36)
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- Make up your shots of espresso first so that the coffee has time to cool down in a shallow bowl
- Separate your eggs and place in 2 separate bowls
- Combine the egg yolks with the sugar and beat well to smooth out the granules as much as possible
- In a separate bowl, beat up your egg white until stiff
- In a third, larger bowl, combine the egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone, then fold in the egg whites to produce a creamy mixture.
- Get your serving dish (12″ by 9″) ready and quickly dip your ladyfingers in the espresso then arrange them in along the dish (you want to be careful about not over-drenching the ladyfingers as this will make the dish too watery)
- Pour a layer of your creamy mascarpone mixture until you cover the ladyfingers
- Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the top and then repeat the process.
- Place the Tiramisu in the fridge for at least 8 hours
- Et voila! Buon appetito!
You will note that we didn’t use rum or any type of liquor. Many Italians tend to prefer Tiramisu without the liquor in it as it has a tendency to overpower the flavors of the dessert. If you make your espresso strong enough, you will get the sufficient “bite” that you need from a good Tiramisu.