No long history or fun and exciting story here- Tiramisu is possibly the most well known Italian dessert (to North American’s anyways) and it’s only been around since the 1960’s. There’s much debate about the exact whereabouts or chef of it’s creation, but who really cares? It’s traditionally made with egg yolks and sometimes egg whites, but I’ve opted for whipped cream instead as it adds lightness and, you know, less risk of salmonella. A simple crowd pleaser that’s sure to bring a smile to your guests’ faces, or simply your own as you stuff it with the cheesy fluffy goodness whilst watching a marathon of your favourite guilty pleasure television show. I didn’t do that myself, I swear, I’m just saying… 😉
You only need about 30 minutes in total to get this one whipped up, and no fancy equipment is needed other than a pastry piping bag and some decent quality espresso. No mixer. No oven.
Tiramisu : yields 5 individual portions
250 ml mascarpone cheese
300 ml heavy cream (35%)
1 pinch cinnamon
icing sugar (to taste, however sweet you like)
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 3 TB marsala wine)
5 lady finger cookies, each cut in half
3 shots good quality espresso (you can buy coffee extracts as well)
1 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup sugar dissolved together)
50 g (roughly) of semi-sweet Bakers chocolate, chopped fine
cocoa powder for dusting
5 individual glass ramekins
-Make your simple syrup by heating your sugar and water together, and add espresso until the syrup has a strong bitter coffee taste. (You can do straight espresso or strong coffee if you prefer less sweet, and omit the syrup completely). Set it aside to cool off a bit. You want it to be warm but not scorching hot when you use it.
-Place mascarpone cheese in a large bowl, add vanilla or marsala wine, cinnamon, and a couple tablespoons of icing sugar, and mix with a spatula until smooth and no lumps at all.
-Start adding the cream slowly and stopping to stir it into the cheese so that the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Once you’ve incorporated all of the cream and the mix is smooth and has enough sweetener to your liking: switch to a whisk and begin whisking vigorously until the cheese becomes fluffy and holds it’s shape when you stop whisking. Dunk a spoon or your finger into the bowl and pull it up straight out of the mix to see if it holds a peak and doesn’t droop back down. If it holds it’s shape it’s ready to go.
-Make sure your coffee syrup is cooled off but still a bit warm, and make sure you’re lady fingers are cut in half a ready to go. Line up your dishes and put your mascarpone cream into a plastic or fabric pastry piping bag.
-Pipe a small amount of cream into the bottoms of your dishes, then dip your lady finger pieces into the coffee syrup, two pieces at a time, for 1-2 seconds per ‘dunk’, and stick them into your mascarpone cream. Drizzle a little extra coffee over the fingers and cheese.
-Make sure there’s no heat coming off of your soaked lady fingers and then sprinkle the chopped chocolate over. You don’t want the warmth melting the chocolate, as you want it’s slight crunch to lend the dessert some texture, so melted is no good!
-Top that off with another later of mascarpone cream, smooth and even out the tops with a spoon that’s been dipped in hot water.
-Leave the dessert in the fridge for an hour or two at the very least in order to get a proper chill on it.
-When ready to serve: sprinkle with a generous layer of cocoa powder, and serve with coffee or tea!
*On a side note: do some research before buying your mascarpone cheese, I hear it’s a few bucks cheaper at WalMart (honestly). It’s pretty pricey!
You can also build this dessert in a loaf pan, cake pan, trifle dish, martini glass, or just about any vessel you have. I used individual here because it’s my personal preference. A quick google search will give you many presentation ideas for this dessert.
Ciao for now!