Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Classic Tiramisu

...and that is exactly what will happen once you make this Tiramisu and realize there's none left! Who doesn't love a creamy, melt in your mouth dessert that's great at performing disappearing acts? I got my hands on this recipe while working at a restaurant here in upstate NY. No one really knows the history of this delicate dessert. There have been Italian cook books that date back to the 17th century which indicate some recipes seeming to be what we call Tiramisu today.
The recipe has also been spotted in Greek cookbooks from the 70's, but it's a general consensus that the dessert belongs to the Italians. The present day version of this dessert was said to have been created in a restaurant in Venice called Le Beccherie. I'm pretty sure back in the 17th century chefs made every part of this dessert from scratch, including the biscuits that we call "lady fingers."  Tiramisu translated into Italian means "carry me up" and that is truly what it does! Enjoy!

3 cups of brewed espresso or strong coffee (cooled)
3 Tbsp Tia Maria (liqueur) *this is optional, I use any type of rum on hand
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
250g Mascarpone Cheese
1 Cup of Heavy Cream
250g Pack of Ladyfingers cookies
Cocoa powder or grated chocolate for topping (I used grated chocolate in the picture above)

1. Get Three bowls. Brew coffee or espresso and set aside to cool off (this is your bowl 1).

1a. Place bowl 2 in the freezer while you do this step.Place the egg yolks and sugar in bowl 3 and beat with mixer till it is pale yellow. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until it is mixed in really well. Add vanilla and mix.

2. **This step is very important** Let the mascarpone mixture sit for about 5 mintues while you rinse the beaters and put in the freezer with bowl 2. The reason for this is that you are going to whip the heavy cream and if the bowl is not frozen or if there is a drop of water or anything else in the bowl, it will prevent the cream from whipping properly.

2a. Remove bowl and beaters from the freezer and pour in 1 cup of heavy cream. keep whipping until stiff peaks form. This means when you tilt the bowl the cream should not move (think of the texture of cool whip).

3. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture. Be gentle! you don't want to remove the air pockets you created in the whip cream to fall.

4. In bowl 1 (the coffee mix) add the Tia Maria or any kind of rum you have on hand. You can use any dish for this but remember this will be two layers so use something that has enough depth and width for the biscuits. I usually count how many bicuits would fit on the bottom and top evenly before dipping in the coffee. You dont want to layer the bottom layer and not have enough biscuits for the second layer...got it? Now one by one dip each lady finger in the coffee mix and place in a line next to each other in the serving dish that you will be using. once the bottom layer is covered, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream mixture over the ladyfinger. Do this step again until your biscuits are used up.

5. Place in the refrigerator over night. When you are ready to serve you can dust cocoa on the top or grate your favorite chocolate over it.

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