For some reason, maybe because I am part Italian, I make a terrific Tiramisu. It’s one of those things where I just found a recipe over 20 years ago in an old Italian cookbook, The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia, tried it (made a few changes) and it took off.
For some other reason, perhaps because he is not part Italian, my husband does not like Tiramisu. He doesn’t like the coffee taste, he doesn’t like the consistency and he doesn’t like the name. Therefore, I only make it when friends request it for birthdays or special occasions, which is often.
Now that I have you all salivating for yet another Tiramisu recipe, if you make this one, you will thank me. It is truly incredible and you will impress your guests, unless one of them happens to be my husband. To make it superb, here are a few tips:
#1 Use a really good imported creamy Mascarpone cheese. The taste and texture is far superior than a lesser expensive one. You may have to find it at an Italian specialty market, but it is worth the trip and expense. If you don’t use a quality Mascarpone, you may find the consistency to be difficult to spread on the Savoiardi, which are fragile after being dipped in the coffee mixture.
#2 Use Italian Savoiardi. Again, you may have to make a trip to the Italian market, but now you have two things to get!! I once used some ladyfingers I found in the local grocery store, but was very disappointed. They did not hold up well when dipped in the coffee mixture and crumbled easily and ended up very soggy after the Tiramisu chilled.
#3 Make sure the coffee is cold. If it isn’t cold, the Savoiardi will crumble in the hot or warm coffee mixture. Sometimes I put it in the freezer for a few minutes before I start to get it as cold as possible. I use a French Press that I keep around for this recipe, because I can easily make a small amount, make it very very strong, and can put the Press in the freezer to cool the coffee quickly.
- 5 eggs – separated **
- 3 cups Mascarpone cheese (see tip #1 above)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cold strong black coffee (see tip #2 above)
- 1/2 – 1 cup Kahlua (depending on your taste)
- 38-40 Savoiardi (Italian Ladyfingers – see tip #3 above)
- sifted cocoa
- bittersweet chocolate – grated or shaved
Put egg whites in greaseless bowl – whisk to soft peaks
Mix cheese, vanilla sugar and egg yolks in separate bowl and mix with electric mixer until combined and creamy.
Gently fold in the egg whites
Spread thin layer of cheese mixture in approximate 9 x 13 serving dish
Put coffee and Kahlua in shallow dish. Quickly dip one Savoiardi at a time (you do not want them to disintegrate) into the coffee mixture and place each one to create one layer in dish. If you need to break them in smaller pieces to fit, do it before you dip them in the coffee mixture.
Carefully spread a layer of cheese mixture to keep Savoiardi intact.
Sprinkle with sifted cocoa. I use a small strainer which works well to sprinkle on top.
Repeat with a layer of Savoiardi.
Top with cheese mixture and another sprinkling of cocoa.
Top with shaved bittersweet chocolate right before serving.
** Since you are using raw eggs, please make sure to notify anyone you serve it to. If you are worried about using raw eggs, use pasteurized eggs.