An italian classic dessert, Tiramisu, is loved by people all over the world. It is actually very easy to make, it requires just a few, standard, ingredients, and the result is a mouthwatering, creamy, coffee-chocolatey deliciousness.
My husband says that I transform from a sweet, mild temper, always smiling and pleasing human being, to a lioness defending her cubs. During my disquisitions on Italian food, my eyes get bigger, my cheeks redden and I start gesticulating like only we Italian can do so well 🙂 .
Emphasis and passion are infused in our being since birth.
Food is what defines us. It belongs to our history and culture. And traditional recipe cannot just be messed up.
Tiramisu is our most popular, most loved, most famous (and sometimes altered) dessert, especially abroad. I’ve seen, read and eaten so many versions, some of them unfortunately did not deserve to be called Tiramisu. I guess I’m okay with creativity and adding/subtracting ingredients, only if the aftermath is re-named a different name.
While all versions can be interesting to many, the real, unmistakable Tiramisu, prepared suiting the Italian tradition, is made with ladyfingers, fresh eggs, sugar, espresso, cocoa powder, and mascarpone. Optionals are the addition of some liquor and some chocolate shavings. That’s it.
There are seasonal variations in Italy that include fruit in the layering and on top but the main ingredients and preparation remain the same. They are usually re-named including the fruit name: Tiramisu alle fragole, Tiramisu ai frutti di bosco, Tiramisu al limone etc.
One of the most common modification, lately, regards the use or not of raw eggs. To be honest with you, Tiramisu was my go-to dessert for family gatherings and friends’ dinner parties for many years. I could produce a batch of incredible Tiramisu with my eyes closed and in no time. Then I stopped making it. I started to pay attention to health matters and Salmonella related issues, especially because it became so hard to find fresh organic eggs that could be trusted to be eaten raw. I remember my grandma used to poke a hole in a fresh egg and let me sip the content (seems disgusting doesn’t it?) Or make me a Zabaione (egg and sugar beaten together, by hand, to a creamy fluffy frothy yummy perfection). But those were different times. So, instead of altering the recipe and using custard or whipping cream or ricotta, in place of the mascarpone/egg mixture, I preferred to turn to making other sweets. That’s how I am.
We had a container of mascarpone in the fridge and my thought went right away to the Tiramisu. I missed making it and so, Loreto and I we prepared, for our Sunday dinner at his parents, a classic version of Tiramisu, using some optional selections: Milano giant ladyfingers, and chocolate shavings in the middle and on top. As for the eggs, we felt the need to cook the egg yolks even if our eggs are organic and bought at our local Strathcona Farmers’s Market. What we did was placing a bowl with the 3 egg yolks and half the sugar over a double boiler and cooking over boiling water for 3-5 minutes, whisking constantly. We let it cool and then we went on with the recipe.
There are still the raw egg whites, though, so be aware of that if you want to reproduce the recipe. You could use whipping cream in place of the egg whites or whole egg, I guess, if it makes you feel more comfortable. But I wouldn’t call it classic or traditional.
I like my Savoiardi (Ladyfingers) well soaked in coffee, the way that when you have a spoonful of Tiramisu in your mouth it is moist (not soggy) and it bursts into an explosion of caffeine deliciousness. As you bring the fork to your mouth you get a waft of the robust scent of cocoa and good quality espresso. Then your tastebuds take over and are taken on a journey from moist cake-like savoiardi followed by the rich creamy smoothness of the mascarpone/egg mixture, the lightness of the folded in egg whites and the finale the crunch of the dark chocolate flavor.
Everybody loved it. Loreto’s mother kept saying “That is good, so moist and creamy”. And she asked for a second helping. She is usually very critical with everybody else’s food (like almost all typical italian cooks) and for me that was the best compliment.
Hope you have the drive to make Tiramisu, it would be a great dessert addition to the upcoming Holiday Festivities.
Song of the day: “7000 Caffè” by Alex Britti.
Ricetta in italiano:
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