Italian cuisine gave us pizza, pasta, minestrone soup and the most famous dessert – Tiramisu.
Now every good chef must know how to prepare tiramisu, because many restaurants have this dessert in their menu.
Many people love it but they think it’s difficult to prepare. This isn’t true! In fact Tiramisu is not only for the keen cook.
A good tiramisu is an extraordinarily tasty dessert that is perfect for almost any situation, from the family get-together through the romantic occasion and official dinner.
I always have mascarpone cheese and ladyfingers in my kitchen in case I need to prepare quickly my version of tiramisu for unexpected guests.
I need one small bowl for every guest. First I whip the fresh cream 30% fat content, next I add the mascarpone cheese, sugar, amaretto and gently mix.
I put into every bowl a layer of cream and a layer of ladyfingers dipped into strong coffee and repeat the process till the end of ingredients. Finally I put on top a thick layer of cream, sprinkle with cocoa powder and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Sometimes I add sliced fruits on top.
So this is my quick recipe. Most Italian tiramisu recipes call for raw egg, which is potentially dangerous. Today the danger of salmonella is always present, and we prefer to cook the yolks bain-marie and to substitute whipped cream for the egg whites.
Tiramisu was invented in the 70’s of the 20th century in Treviso in the northern region of Veneto at a stone’s throw from Venice, but became really popular only in the early 90’s. And probably the base for this one was anothe Italian dessert - Zabaglione cream what is a classic sweet treat originally from Venice. Zabaglione cream and the mascarpone cheese were mixed and this is how we received tiramisu.
Basic ingredient of tiramisu is the mascarpone cheese.
Mascarpone has very old origins and it appears that it was already produced in the 13th century in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, where took its name from mascherpa which is the local term for a sort of ricotta cheese. Mascarpone is more than a cheese: it is a concentrate of milk cream, with a fat content up to 75%, with a smooth, creamy and sweet texture. It was considered a winter product for its caloric content and especially because it is very delicate and didn’t keep for long in the hot temperatures before the advent of the refrigerator.
The next ingredient is the Savoiardi. These delicate cookies, also known as ladyfingers, were created at the court of the Savoy Dukes around the 1500’s in the northern Italian region of Piemonte, at the boundaries with France. Apparently they were created for a lavish reception organized in honor of a visit of the king of France. Later, thanks to the extraordinary success on this memorable banquet, these cookies were adopted officially by the Royal House of Piemonte. They were renamed Savoiardi from the name of the Savoy dynasty, and they became the most appreciated dessert of the house. Savoiardi are very light because they are prepared with a dough rich of whipped egg white. Very popular for the preparation of layer cakes, they are also served as a complement to custards, ice cream or fruit salad.
So there is perhaps an original recipe, since many regions of Italy have their own recipes. Each is considered an original. Which one is really that first oneis? I don’t know, but every version of tiramisu is marvellous. The cake is characterized by a delicate and intense taste.
4 eggs yolks
100 grams sugar
100 ml Marsala or Amaretto
450 grams Mascarpone cheese
200 grams fresh cream
1 cup espresso coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
40 pieces of ladyfingers cookies
2 tablespoons bitter cocoa powder
1) Prepare the coffee dip.
Prepare one cup of strong espresso coffee, dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in the liquid. Let the coffee cool at room temperature.
2) Prepare the zabaglione filling
Beat the egg yolks in a heat proof bowl or in the bowl of a double boiler, until they become fluffy. Beat in the sugar and the Marsala wine or different alcohol.
Transfer the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until the cream thickens. The zabaglione will thicken just before boiling point, when small bubbles appear.
With a rubber spatula, mash the mascarpone cheese in a bowl until creamy.
Add the zabaglione into the mascarpone cheese, and beat to mix very well.
Whip the fresh cream. Fold the whipped cream into the zabaglione– and - cheese cream, until mix gently smooth.
Lightly soak ladyfingers in coffee, one at a time. Place them in one layer in a container of about 12 x 8 inches, approximately 2 inches deep, (30 x 20 cm), approximately 4 cm deep).
Evenly distribute half of the zabaglione cream over the ladyfingers.
Repeat the step with the second layer of ladyfingers, and top with the rest of the cream.
Sprinkle with the cocoa powder and refrigerate for about 3 – 4 hours.