Everyone 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)
strong black coffee, chilled
Kalúa or other coffee flavoured liqueur
savoiardi (Italian sponge fingers)
cocoa powder, for dusting
- 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.)
- In a separate bowl whisk the mascarpone and egg yolks with an electric mixer until evenly combined. Whisk in the sugar if using.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, in three additions.
- Spread one third of the mixture into the bottom of a serving bowl, being careful not to knock out the air.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover and chill overnight.
- 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 on June 18, 2004 04:25 PM to Gourmet Greatrix