I was tempted, for the first time in my life, to stay silent and let the image speak. Me, yes, me. Tiramisu does not need introductions. I can also imagine some of you having a big grin on your gorgeous faces: those who on various occasions may have had the chance to try the version of tiramisu I make and were kind enough to say how much you loved it.
First things first, despite the initial excitement, I have to clarify that I have no intention of claiming that tiramisu belongs to the collection of southern Italian recipes. As my Venetian friend Valentina would say: “Leave the tiramisu and risotto to us, as you have so much already down in the south!”. Indeed, but tiramisu is a pudding loved across all of Italy and it was often on the menu for birthday and dinner parties of friends and relatives while I was growing up.
It is one of the cakes I also make for my birthday parties. Yes, I do make myself a birthday cake; however, three years ago George showed how brave he was and made me a tiramisu!
I often make it when our friends come over for lunch at the weekend, as I know it is the ultimate in scrumptiousness for many people in the UK (with some exceptions, of course)!
Tiramisu is always a winning bet. Did I tell you about the time I submitted it as a cake for the CAFOD bake-off? I replaced the biscuits with a baked sponge and made it into a tiramisu cake! I actually won a prize…!
I said right at the beginning, in the about the recipes section, that a few recipes come from friends, and on this occasion the tiramisu recipe could only come from someone from the north of Italy, where tiramisu originated. So the one I am sharing today is one that Vale gave me a few years ago. I am humbly sharing it with you now hoping that she won’t shout at me for destroying some holy principles and rules of making tiramisu!
Tiramisu is a dessert that may not require baking, but still needs your time and attention. What could possibly go wrong? Mainly two things: the cream could split, and the biscuits could be either oversoaked or too dry. But don’t worry too much about these, as on this occasion I am sharing a step-by-step recipe.
Ready to get started? Valentine’s Day is approaching, but there is still time to practise so you’ll be ready to let your loved one know how much you adore them with a scrumptious Italian tiramisu!
- 375g savoiardi or sponge/finger biscuits
- 500g mascarpone
- 4 eggs at room temperature (separated into yolks and whites)
- 80g sugar
- 600ml espresso coffee
- 2 tablepoons boiling water
- 1 or 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
- cocoa powder for dusting
Place a good-sized bowl in the freezer. You will use it later to put the whites in and mount them.
Separate the whites from the yolks.
Mix yolks and sugar until they move from dark yellow to pale and form a very creamy and smooth consistency. It should nearly double in size. It may take you up to 10 minutes. Start at low speed and then increase to maximum as you go on.
Take the mascarpone out of the fridge. Add it with a wooden spoon to the sugar and yolks mix. Incorporate it first with the spoon. Use a mixer to mix until you obtain a smooth cream. Leave to rest and store in the fridge.
Take the bowl out of the freezer. Add the egg whites to it, and a pinch of salt. With the mixer start at low speed and increase as you go on. Mix for about 10 minutes or until the whites become very firm. Test it by turning the bowl upside down… the whites should not move an inch!
Take the yolks-sugar-mascarpone based cream out of the fridge. Add two big tablespoons of whipped egg whites and fold them in with a wooden spoon, with a movement that goes from the bottom to the top: gently, no pushing. Do not add any more whipped egg whites until the first amount is completely absorbed. Carry on until the whites are all incorporated and you obtain a smooth cream.
If it is curdling or bits are separating the cream has “gone mad” and this is not okay. But the precautions of the bowl in the freezer, the wooden spoon, super-firm whites and folding the whites gently one bit at a time, should prevent this from happening.
Make the espresso coffee. Do not add sugar. Add the coffee liqueur and two tablespoons of boiling water. Mix well.
If you want to prevent your hands from getting coffee stains, use some suitable cooking gloves. Let the coffee mix cool down a bit, but if it is still warm, it is better.
Soak each biscuit in the coffee, for about 5 seconds on each side. The biscuit needs to be fully immersed.
Place in a baking dish of 26x20cm to create the base of the tiramisu. Spread the cream on evenly, using just over half of the total quantity of the cream. The bottom layer of cream should be a little bit thicker than the top one.
Create a second layer with the rest of the biscuits and cover with the remaining cream. Sprinkle a relatively thick layer of cocoa powder.
Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours. This pudding freezes extremely well. Just remember that it will need 24 hours to defrost in the fridge…
What is left to say? Enjoy every spoon of it. Life is short and we deserve to spoil ourselves and those who rock our world!