The Italian classic Tiramisu translates into “pick me up” or “make me feel better”. After a long and tiring day of work, I can definitely use a little pick me up such as tiramisu. I use to think making tiramisu would be a long drawn out baking process because the first time I made it was. This recipe is a gem and it comes together quickly. Since I always have the ingredients I now realize that I can make this recipe all the time.
The first time I had REALLY good Tiramisu, I was in Rome. We were dining at a little spot behind the college laden stairs of the Spanish Steps. It was a hidden treasure, as we were told by a nearby shop owner. This treasure was called Ristorante Alla Rampa and as it turns out they had quite the cult following. There were many highlights that evening from the delicious bowls of fresh-made pasta to my first sip of grappa ever. The biggest highlight for me that evening was when this cute Italian waiter came out and announced that he was going to be dessert. Okay, I am kidding he really said that Tiramisu would be dessert. He proceeded to walk up to our table with a huge bowl of Tiramisu. The best part of this was that we could have as much as we wanted, a little scoop, a bowl of it, or better yet, why not leave the serving dish. We had no problem finishing it all. I can still taste the freshness from the housemade mascarpone and deep dark bittersweet chocolate, melting on my tongue with each bite.
I have only attempted to make Tiramisu twice, my entire cooking life. The first time, it was a long drawn out process, while it turned out delicious, it took too long. Last week was the second time using this recipe that is actually bits and pieces from other recipes as well as trying to recreate a delicious memory. I did not use as much sugar as most recipes call for as I wanted the taste of the mascarpone as well as the chocolate to be the focus. The ladyfingers are dusted with a bit of sugar so this adds to the recipe as well.
Couple tips to help make your tiramisu a success:
- Sugar – use caster sugar if you can find it as it dissolves easier. If you cannot find, pulse regular sugar in a food processor until fine.
- Mascarpone – use the freshest you can find. I tend to like Italian brands better as I find them a bit more earthy in flavor.
- Chocolate – dark unsweet cocoa powder really makes this dessert but you can use semi chocolate if you prefer that.
This tiramisu recipe is ultra-delicious and everything it should be with each bite: rich, smooth, creamy, and flavorful! It tasted very close to the one I enjoyed in Rome many years ago. While it is wonderful the first day, if there are leftovers it was even better the second and third days.
** serves 6 (used 6-ounce glass ramekins)
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar, caster if you can find
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extra
- 2 cups mascarpone
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups very strong espresso
- 10 1/2 ounces ladyfingers, I like Forno Bonomi
- dark unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Place the yolks and sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a whisk or hand-held mixer, mix the two together until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and mix
- Mix together the mascarpone and heavy cream in a medium bowl just to combine, then mix with the yolk mixture.
- Place the espresso into a shallow bowl for dipping the ladyfingers.
- Spoon a small amount of the mascarpone mixture onto the bottom of a ramekin.
- Quickly dip both sides of a ladyfinger into the coffee and then break in half to fit into the ramekin. Place on top of the mascarpone, then pour another small amount of mascarpone on top of the ladyfingers. Repeat this process by dipping the ladyfingers into the coffee, etc… I had three layers of ladyfingers and ended with a fourth layer of mascarpone.
- Dust heavily with cocoa powder, and refrigerate until required.