Tiramisu, a soft dessert layered with Savoiardi biscuits soaked in coffee and alcohol, all wrapped in a soft mascarpone cream. It was originally conceived in the city of Treviso in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. The name tiramisu literally means ‘to pick me up’.
There are many variations on how to prepare a proper Tiramisu, some new takes on this traditional recipe suggest replacing mascarpone with the lighter ricotta, no booze in the coffee or just using sponge cake instead of ladyfingers. Of course everyone can choose what fit better according to personal tastebuds, however we love being stick to Italian traditions just like for this classic Tiramisu.
Serves: 6-7 | Preparation time: 40 mins + 2 h to rest in the fridge
- Mascarpone: 500 g
- Coffee, possibily made with Mokapot – better not soluble: 150 ml
- Marsala Wine or Rum or Cognac : 45 ml
- Savoiardi biscuits/ Ladyfingers : about 20-25
- Eggs: 4
- Sugar: 5 tbsp
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: to taste
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and place them in two different bowls; make sure that the yolks don’t break, and that the bowl in which you place the whites is spotlessly clean – otherwise, the whites won’t become stiff, no matter how much you beat them.
Add sugar to the yolks, whisk them until the mixture becomes frothy. Use a spatula to add mascarpone to the yolk/sugar mix, whisk thoroughly to break any lumps.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat them until stiff with a clean whisk. Now add the whites to the yolk and mascarpone cream, in relatively small spoonfuls. Make sure to stir in the whites by moving the spoon exclusively upwards: if you press down on the whites with the spoon whilst stirring, the whites will deflate and won’t be able to use your mascarpone cream for the tiramisu.
Brew the coffee. You can follow our tips for a great Italian coffee: Stovetop Italian Coffee with Moka. It’s really important to not add any sugar into the coffee, as the mascarpone cream already makes up for the sweet component of your tiramisu. What you can do to counteract the bitterness of the coffee is to add some rum to it.
Tip: If you really cannot get your hands onto a moka, you can use some instant coffee – just be aware that this will slightly change the taste of your Tiramisu.
Pour the coffee into a shallow plate and leave it to cool down at room temperature before proceeding any further. Hot coffee is not only hazardous, as you risk burning your fingertips – it’s also not recommended. The ladyfingers tend to soak up too much coffee when it is still scorching hot: you would end up with a soggy Tiramisu.
You’re ready to start assembling your Tiramisu. Take a fairly wide dessert dish with high edges and cover the bottom with ladyfingers soaked in coffee. Keep the ladyfingers in the coffee only for a couple of seconds – as just mentioned, the biscuits must not be soggy – and then place them in the dish in a tight layer.
Use a spatula or a tablespoon to spread some mascarpone cream on the ladyfingers, enough to evenly cover them. Cover the cream with another layer of soaked-up ladyfingers and proceed in this fashion until you’ve finished all of the ingredients. The topmost layer of the Tiramisu must be a generous coating of cream.
Store in the fridge and leave it to rest for at least 2 hours; this step is necessary for the flavours to combine properly.
Garnish the tiramisu by sprinkling the cocoa powder on top, right before bringing it to the table.
Tip: Don’t garnish Tiramisu in advance! The unsweetened cocoa powder will become wet and Tiramisu will look moist.