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June 18, 2004


TiramisuEveryone loves Tiramisu, but all to often what you find in restaurants and shops bears little or no resemblance to the authentic Italian dish. This recipe came to me from two different friends in Italy, each version was almost identical to the other, the only difference being that one contained a scant amount of sugar and the other contained none. This is a matter of personal preference so I list this ingredient as optional, leaving you to taste the mixture and then decide whether it needs that extra touch of sweetness to suit your taste. I have to admit I have no hard and fast rule as to which one I do, I always taste then decide whether or not to add some or all of the sugar. I also think the quality of the mascarpone can effect this decision.

Recipe: (serves 6-8)
6 fl.oz.
4 fl.oz.
1 package
1 tbp
eggs, separated
mascarpone cheese
strong black coffee, chilled
Kalúa or other coffee flavoured liqueur
savoiardi (Italian sponge fingers)
sugar (optional)
cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Put the egg whites in a very clean and grease-free bowl and whisk until soft peaks, (ie. when you lift the beaters the egg whites stay on the beaters and just droop ever so slightly, but hold their shape.)
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the mascarpone and egg yolks with an electric mixer until evenly combined. Whisk in the sugar if using.
  3. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, in three additions.
  4. Spread one third of the mixture into the bottom of a serving bowl, being careful not to knock out the air.
  5. Mix the coffee and liqueur together in a shallow dish. Dip a sponge finger into the mixture, turn it quickly so that it doesn't become saturated and disintegrate, then place it on top of the mascarpone layer Repeat this step till the entire layer is covered.
  6. Spoon over half of the remaining mascarpone mixture, then add another layer of the dipped sponge fingers, and top with the remaining mascarpone. Level the surface.
  7. Cover and chill overnight.
  8. Before serving sift cocoa powder all over the surface.

Tips for success
  • It's very important that the mascarpone is at room temperature before attempting this recipe. Otherwise it will not blend smoothly with the egg yolks.
  • The quality of the mascarpone is also important, since it is the most important ingredient. For the best results use the freshest mascarpone you can get, and preferably Italian. If you are unable to find Italian mascarpone, domestic brands can be used but they yield a much heavier, denser Tiramisu. My favourite brand is “Polenghi” and my least favourite brand (which I will not use) is “BelGioioso”.
  • The number of sponge fingers will depend of the size and depth of your dish. My dish is 8"x8"x2¼" (2 quarts) and I use just under one packet and make 2 layers of fingers/3 layers of mascarpone, however if your dish is smaller and deeper then obviously you might want to make more layers.
  • Many liqueurs will work well in Tiramisu, you aren't tied to coffee-flavoured ones. Sweet Marsala Wine is a traditional choice, but another interesting variant would be Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur.
  • Don't try to rush this dessert and make it the day you need it, it is much improved after a night in the refrigerator. Trust me it's well worth waiting for!
Posted by Victoria : June 18, 2004 04:25 PM to Desserts
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This recipe should be kept under lock and key. The fact that it has been released on the general public is scandalous - it has been known the make grown men weep. Wars have begun over the last forkful, and many a king has lost his crown over it. Rumors persist that the original recipe should have been destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, but the holder could not let go.

Posted by: Jay : June 24, 2004 12:41 AM

This dessert is just delicious. I have to say that this recipe is the best one I have ever tasted. I also lived in Italy for 3 years and tried many different authentic recipes. They don't hold a candle to the one Vic made.

Posted by: Jenny : June 26, 2004 06:28 PM

I can attest that this was Vic's masterpiece dessert. It was so delicious, I still remember the taste. I doubt I'll be bying anything from the store after tasting Vic's creation.

Posted by: Ayli : June 27, 2004 07:50 PM

I tried the Tiramisu. I think I am trying to do too many layers. Because when I had yours it was so nice a creamy. Mine was too dry. How much of the marscapone mixture should be in between the layers. If I use the same dish size you use how many layers do you generally have?

Posted by: Jenny : July 7, 2004 11:53 PM

Did you use the recipe I emailed you a few months ago or the one here? They are the same recipe but the one here has possibly better directions and should answer all your questions, if not let me know.

Posted by: Vic : July 7, 2004 11:56 PM

I used the one from a few months ago. I will try this one today. I'm bringing it to work because they have been bugging me to make it for them ever since I started telling them about this dish I had in NYC and the fact I have the recipe. Yummy.

Posted by: Jenny : July 8, 2004 07:55 AM
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