No one in Italy needs a recipe for Tiramisu, it is handed down from grandparents to parents to children. Every recipe is more or less similar, the variations are small, but in simple recipes such as tiramisu, these small variations can have a large effect.
So here is my recipe for the classic tiramisu, I will also tell you of the variations known to me.
Ah, tiramisu means pull me up. And after a long day it certainly does its job! Tiramisu is meant to be kept in the fridge and eaten cold but it works for every season, it’s a wonderful cake!
Is it hard to make? Oh no! When you live outside Italy the “hardest” part is finding mascarpone cheese and savoiardi cookies, the latter are often called ladyfinger. But if you know anything about your grocery store I am sure you can find them, in the US I used to buy both at Publix, here in Germany they are available everywhere.
The following ingredients make a cake of about 22×30 cm (9×13″). I made it in a 20 cm (8″) square pan since I don’t own a bigger one in Germany. How I miss my older kitchen utensils :(
- 1/2 cup fo coffee (espresso works best)
- 1/2 cup (or less to taste) liquor (brandy, amaretto and baileys are the most common)
- 5 eggs (separated: 4 egg whites, 5 egg yolks)
- a pinch of salt
- vanillina (optional)
- 5 tbs sugar
- 500 gr mascarpone cheese
- 2 packages ladyfinger cookies
- cocoa powder to dust
You will use coffe and liquor to dip the cookies. To prevent the cookies from becoming mushy, the liquid should be at room temperature, so make the coffee right away and let it cool.
Separate the eggs into two large bowls, keeping 4 egg whites and 5 egg yolks.
Add a pinch of salt and the vanillina or a little vanilla flavor to the whites, and whip until it’s light and stiff and you can turn the bowl upside down and the mass won’t move! See, I did it in picture 1 ;)
Then beat the egg yolk with the sugar until light and fluffy and very creamy. When they are ready a ribbon will fall from your beater and it will float for some time on top of the creamy eggs (Picture 2).
Add the mascarpone to the yolks, a little at a time, beating well to remove lumps (Picture 3).
Fold the whipped egg whites into the cream, fold slowly trying not to deflate the whites (Picture 4).
Grab your pan, open the packages of cookies, pour the coffee in a deep dish, add the liquor, and start dipping the cookies in the coffee-liquor mixture. You don’t want them too soaked, but they should retain some liquid.
Lay the cookies in a layer and cover the bottom of your pan, you can cut the cookies to make them fit (Picture 5). You may use the scraps for the next layer or just eat them ;)
Cover the cookies with half of the cream you prepared.
Make another layer of cookies (Picture 6). Cover with the rest of the cram (Picture 7).
Durst with abundant cocoa powder (Picture 8) and transfer to the fridge.
If you dipped your cookies just right you can serve tiramisu after a few hours, otherwise I would suggest you to serve your tiramisu the following day.
If your cookies float upward, you soaked them too much, you will know better next time. If the cookies are stiff and hard to cut you didn’t soak them enough. A good trick to avoid soaking them too much or too little is for the mixture of coffee and liquor to be at room temperature.
< There is no picture of a slice. That’s because, somebody ate it all, and I have to admit that somebody else helped him :P >
Some variations to this classic recipe are:
- Heavy cream instead of egg whites (much heavier than this version).
- No flavor in the eggs. I use vanillina in Germany because eggs in here are quite smelly.
- Your choice of liquor, or milk to soak the cookies.
- Sponge instead of ladyfingers.
- Grated chocolate instead or together with cocoa powder.