Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Traditional Tiramisu

n. A dessert of cake infused with a liquid such as coffee and Marsala, layered with a rich cheese filling, and topped with grated chocolate.
Tiramisu 2
Tiramisu is probably one of my new favorite desserts. I had never tried it before a year ago, and I don't know why! It has all great components: cookies, coffee, cheese, and chocolate! The only problem is it costs upwards of 8 dollars a serving at restaurants! Making this dessert at home is definitely cost effective, even if the ingredients cost more than usual, you get a full batch of at least 10 servings! So as long as you spend less than even 50 dollars for all the ingredients (which I do not know how you could), you will be saving money.
Tiramisu 8
I looked online for many tiramisu recipes, but most were non-traditional and took a shortcut, and that was not what I wanted. I wanted one that had a zabaglione mixture, mascarpone, and savoiardi. I found a recipe with just that on the unlikely site of
The Pioneer Woman. Of course the best tiramisu recipe comes from a woman from a cattle ranch in the middle of America. I kind of mixed with her recipe the recipe on the back of savoiardi, or crispy lady finger cookies. These are not soft and mushy like many lady fingers when they come out of the package. They are very crispy and bland, made to be used in something. However, when soaked in the espresso/Marsala wine mixture, they become quite soft.
Tiramisu 6
So I started with making my zabaglione mixture, because it needed to be chilled. The zabaglione mixture consists of egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar. The egg yolks are whisked up with the sugar before they are whisked even more over a double boiler. Then, gradually, the Marsala is mixed in. When done cooking, the mixture becomes very, very thick. Just make sure you whisk constantly. If you don't it is easy to burn the mixture and that would not be very good. When that is done, chill the mixture, covered, in the fridge for about an hour.
Tiramisu 5
Next, I made the espresso/wine mixture. I used about 2 ounces of espresso. I know this because I went to Starbucks for a double espresso shot, which is like 1/8 cup. For the rest of the coffee to make up the 1 and 1/2 cup, I used especially strong brewed coffee. I then added a scant 1/4 cup of Marsala wine since I added a little extra to the zabaglione mixture. Then finally I added some vanilla. Oh, make sure your coffee/espresso is cool otherwise it might melt the cheese layer.
Tiramisu 4
I used a square 8 by 8 inch pan, because the 13 x 9 inch pan was dirty, and it wouldn't have fit in the fridge anyhow. I also only had one small package of savoiardi so I wouldn't have been able to have 2 layers, much less three like the recipe says. I only got 2 scant layers from the cookies, but with the pan I chose it worked out.
Tiramisu 1
I apologize now for the all-over-the-place-ness of this recipe. That said this recipe is not hard! I promise! Seriously, give it a shot you will be glad you did.
Tiramisu 3

Amended from
The Pioneer Woman and Alessi Savoiardi
Serves 9+ depending on serving size

For the Zabaglione:
5 egg yolks ( Make meringue cookies with the whites, if you want)
1/4 c sugar
Scant 1/2 cup Marsala ( I used more, but that was on accident, but unless you really like the flavor of Marsala I wouldn't recommend it)

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 c sugar

1 lb (16oz) Mascarpone, softened (A good place to find this inexpensively is a bulk retailer like Sam's Club or BJ's. I found it for 4 dollars at BJ's for a pound. At a gourmet grocery store, I found it for 8 dollars for half a pound.)
(A substitute is also to use two 8oz packages of cream cheese mixed with 1/2 cup whipping cream and a heaping quarter cup of sour cream.)

Dipping Coffee/Marsala Mixture:
1 cup espresso or strong coffee (I would not use Starbucks canned sweetened espresso, as it will make your recipe too sweet)
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp. Sugar (Optional)

2 Packages of 7oz Alessi Savoiardi Lady Finger Cookies (if using 9 by 13 pan and want 3 layers) (1 package for a square pan with only 2 layers)

Cocoa Powder, for dusting


For the Zabaglione:

  • Boil a pot of water that will fit your glass bowl without the bowl going all the way in. When boiling, reduce to simmer
  • Separate 5 eggs, putting the yolks in the glass bowl. Add a 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until lighter in color, about 4 minutes
  • Put the bowl of frothy yolks and sugar mixture on top of the simmering water. Continue whisking.
  • Add Marsala gradually, continuously whisking. Keep whisking, occasionally scraping down the bowl. When mixture becomes thick like paint, take off heat being careful of the built-up steam. Cover and let chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Arrange the cookies in an even layer on the bottom of your selected dish, making sure to have a roughly even amount for your other layers.

For the Dipping Coffee/ Marsala mixture:

  • Measure 1 cup of strong coffee or espresso or a mixture
  • Add 1 tbsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 c Marsala wine
  • Spoon 1 tbsp or more on each ladyfinger. I only put 1 tbsp. of the mixture on each cookie, and after sitting 2 hours the ladyfingers were still somewhat crispy. If you like that only add 1 tbsp, if you do not and want it very soft and mushy, add enough to visibly saturate the cookies
  • I would suggest adding sugar to this mixture, maybe 3 tbsp. The mixture tends to be a little bitter if you use espresso. However, if you don't like overly sweet desserts I would not suggest this, as the mascapone mixture still imparts a lot of sweetness

For the Whipped Cream:

  • Add 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Beat on high for around 2-3 minutes, or until relatively stiff peaks in the cream form.
To Assemble:
  • Fold together the whipped cream, zabaglione, and softened mascarpone.
  • Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture (depending on how many layers you are planning to have) on top of the soaked savioardi. Smooth out.
  • Dust a light layer of cocoa powder on top of the cream mixture.
  • Repeat the process of laying savioardi on top of the cream, spoon the coffee/Marsala mixture on the cookies, and covering with the cream mixture and cocoa powder, finishing with the cream mixture.


flory said...

the recipe sounds really good. mmmmm. awesome tiramisu is awesome tiramisu. happy early birthday!

Patti said...

Mmmm, tiramisu is so so good! Sometimes I like making it in a glass bowl so then all the layers can be shown-off.

Ninette said...

Wow, your tiramisu is to die for!