So the jump from “I went to Italy” and “I came home and made Tiramisu” is pretty obvious right? But the thing is friends; I never once ate Tiramisu in Italy. This was mainly because pistachio gelato. And also because Nutella gelato. So if there is some kind of tourist penalty for skipping Tiramisu in Italy I guess I may deserve it.
We have been home just on a month now (sad and also true) and our affection for all things Italian has not yet diminished. I think it’s a way of holding on to the trip, extending it just a teeny bit more. Just the other Sunday, we had some friends over and decided to put on a little Tuscan inspired lunch for them; give us yet another reason to say how lovely our trip was.
The antipasto and primo were sorted, but I could not settle on the dolce. I had very recently made a pistachio ice cream, so didn’t feel inclined to attempt to recreate the particular Italian beauty that is gelato. I thought about cannoli but my heart kept bringing me back to Tiramisu.
Tiramisu, which as any chef will tell you means “pick-me-up” in Italian. It is a phrase coined no doubt from the strong espresso coffee / alcohol kick you get when you reach the coffee and liquor soaked savoiardi biscuits. Now I had always thought Tiramisu to be as old as the Venetian Grand Canal, but after reading this really great article by Anna Maria Volpi on the origins of Tiramisu, I realise what an error I have made. Tiramisu, says Anna Maria, can be traced back only as far as the seventies.
It is absolutely possible then, that I may in fact be older than the “classic” Tiramisu. And in which case I must ask, is Tiramisu a true Italian classic or have we just turned it into a cliché?
Either way this Tiramisu is one charming Italian, and it certainly does not disappoint.
- 4 egg yolks
- 250 ml (1 C) castor sugar
- 2.5 ml (½ t) scraped vanilla seeds
- 250 g mascarpone cheese
- 375 ml (1½ C) cream
- 375 ml - 500 ml (1½-2 C) strong coffee, cooled
- 160 ml (⅔ C) marsala wine
- 200 g Savoiardi Lady Fingers
- Place the egg yolks and the sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce the heat to low, so that the water is simmering and not boiling.
- Whisking continually, cook the eggs and sugar over a constant heat (be sure that the heat is constant and not too hot or the eggs will scramble).
- Together the eggs and sugar will pale and thicken to form a smooth thick custard or zabaglione. This will upwards of about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Add the marscapone cheese and whisk until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks.
- Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone zabaglione mixture and set aside.
- Mix the coffee with the marsala wine. Dip the savoiardi biscuits into the coffee mixture for a few seconds, turning over once to allow them to absorb some of the coffee. Do not over soak the biscuits as they will crumble.
- Arrange the savoiardi biscuits in the bottom of your serving dish.
- Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the savoiardi biscuits.
- Dust with the cocoa/sugar powder.
- Add another layer of savordi biscuits and a second layer of marsacapone cheese.
- Refrigerate until needed.
- Dust with more cocoa /sugar powder just before serving.