Waaay back in April/May of 2010, when we decided to do this blog, sis and I made tiramisu. Then we kind of sat on it and never posted it. That was pretty much my fault. We forgot to take the final shot, the one of the dessert plated. The “star” shot, as I’ve come to call them. We’ve forgotten to do this once or twice before since then, but I just especially wanted to show this one off to it’s fullest. You know, to enable us here at FFA to tempt you into sin as capably as possible. You’re so, so welcome.
Tiramisu is one of the more fun desserts that I occasionally make at home simply because my husband loves it. Most importantly, though, he loves how I make it. That’s an important distinction. The other day I noted that one of the most important things a cook can have is at least one person who loves their cooking enough to praise it. Hubby does that for me, and usually without me having to ask how he likes whatever it is on his plate. The other night when he ate this, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he said, “Oh my, God…”
I think that kind if thing is the most rewarding after you’ve devoted time to crafting any part of a meal from scratch (or even mostly from scratch). So thanks, hon. It means a whole lot.
You start by cracking some eggs and separating them. This recipe only uses the yolks.
We cracked a lot of eggs since at the time we were making a double recipe. Two tiramisu for the price of one! Well, not really money-wise, of course. Time-wise.
Sorry for the awful shot. This was also pre-camera light as well, and we were just wee wittle food bloggers starting out. Aww. Anyway, after you beat together the sugar and eggs, you’ll need to stir them constantly in a double boiler. Let me stress that – con.stant.ly. You don’t want your eggs to curdle/scramble/turn yucky.
If you don’t have a double boiler, grab a bowl that is oven or stove top safe and a saucepan that it will just fit into. It’ll work the same way. Just be careful the water isn’t boiling too much or else steam can escape and steam burns the hands. Oh my, how it does. My jury-rigged double boiling method seen here is why I’m still too lazy to buy a proper double boiler. But you know how it is, don’t fix what isn’t broke.
The most fun part, after cooling the egg/sugar mixture to room temperature, is adding in the mascarpone cheese, and then some freshly made whipped cream, the last of which gets gently folded in. The result is something you just want to eat with the spatula and forget about the rest. Forget about those waiting for tiramisu. Forget about work, stress, or anything else not in that bowl.
We use pre-made, store-bought ladyfingers at FFA. We’re not ashamed of this. It gets us our tiramisu quicker. We’ve used the soft variety as well as the crisp ones. Both do sensationally. This one here is getting dipped in a very fine mixture of espresso and amaretto.
You make a layer of dipped ladyfingers, then you pile on about half of that pillowy, soft creamy goodness. Spread it around as evenly as possible. You’re going to do it all a second time, too. Look, it’s just two layers, you can do it! It’s almost done.
What you end up with is this seemingly plain-jane dessert that gets a fine dusting of chocolate. Our secret? We just use some Godiva hot chocolate mix we had on hand. Duh, right? Of course we’d use the Godiva cocoa mix. Pfffffttt.
After you’ve refrigerated this several hours or overnight – I always opt for overnight – you can usually pretty easily cut into this with a good square-ish spatula, and plate yourself a nice square or rectangular piece. The cream layer should be more firm now, but still melt-in-your-mouth smooth. You’ll know it’s firm enough if it survived you getting it out with that spatula.
I was taking the star shot, over and over, and couldn’t take it anymore. I had to have a bite, slowly eating away at it as I clicked the camera. This was the next day, mind. I’d been pretty patient, actually, if I do say so myself.
This is a great dessert to make for an event or family gathering. It’s simple in texture and ingredients, but it shows those ingredients off to their fullest potential. It’s comforting, it’s light-tasting (though, yes, not light on anything else) and it’s one of those ultimate feel-good treats. The cream layer is unforgettable, the ladyfingers soften to a moist cake consistency and the coffee and amaretto they were dipped in is a wonderful accent. You’ve just got to make this one.
Adapted from ??? (When I can find the original brand of ladyfingers that inspired this, I’ll fill it in, promise.)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes (also several hours chill time) Level: easy Servings: 10-12
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese (a little more than 8 oz.)
- 1 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 2 packages (3 oz. each) ladyfingers
- 1 1/2 cups espresso or very strong coffee (see notes below)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup amaretto
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish (or your favorite cocoa mix will do)
Combine eggs yolks and sugar and whip until thick. You can either do this by hand or use the whisk attachment and your stand mixer. I’ve had about the same results both ways, only slightly better with the stand mixer. Whip until light yellow in color, about one minute.
Place mixture in a double boiler over just boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a larger bowl pre-filled with ice. Kind of nestle the hot bowl into the ice till it sits without trying to turn over. Fill the ice bowl carefully with water till it comes about a third of the way up the bowl containing the egg mixture. This will allow the mixture to cool and come to room temperature much quicker, only takes about ten or fifteen minutes.
Add in the mascarpone cheese, beating until fully incorporated. Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form when you pull the whisk out (this is definitely where the stand or hand mixer comes in handy). Fold the cream into the egg mixture. Be careful not to over fold or it will start to deflate the whipped cream. If you still see a few streaks of the white whipped cream, that’s OK. The next day after it’s set up, you won’t see those.
Mix together the coffee and amaretto, stirring to combine. Dip each ladyfinger briefly and one at a time. Line the bottom of a shallow square pan (I use one that’s about 10 – 12 inches square) with the ladyfingers, making about two rows, more if you need to. Spoon about half the cream egg mixture over the first layer of ladyfingers and smooth it on as evenly as possible, to all four sides of the pan. Repeat the process again, another layer of dipped ladyfingers, then the rest of the cream.
As loosely as possible, cover the dessert with foil or plastic wrap and put in the fridge for several hours or overnight. If some of the top cream layer comes off with the cover, just scoop it off with a spatula and carefully spread it back on those areas. Garnish by dusting on the cocoa powder with a fine mesh sieve or sifter or powdered sugar duster. It’ll cover any imperfections. Using a good square-ish spatula, cut squares out and plate. Or if you don’t care if it looks pretty or not, just spoon it up into a bowl. Whatever you do – enjoy!
I’ve found it’s helpful to have extra coffee on hand just in case. Sometimes I use it all, sometimes I don’t, but it’s better to have enough, don’t you think? Be sure to occasionally stir the coffee amaretto mix as it tends to want to separate a little as you keep dipping ladyfingers.
You can also use other liqueurs if you like, or none at all, just the coffee.
Please be careful if you do rig up your own double boiler. I have burned myself a couple of times as steam escaped from between the pan and bowl. I use an oven mitt-covered hand to hold the bowl in place now to avoid this.
I got impatient with the long cool-down time for the egg/sugar mixture, so I started cooling it off with the ice bowl instead and it cut down a lot of wait time. Worked out great.