Tiramisu is one of Italy’s most popular desserts, it is an irresistible, creamy treat that blends the flavors of espresso and cocoa with the sweet mascarpone cheese, layered with lady finger biscuits.
The name “tiramisu” or “tira mi su” in Italian translates to ‘pick me up’. The exact origin of the tiramisu has never been proved beyond doubt. There are claims that it was created in the 17th century in Tuscany where layered desserts emerged. Another popular, and by far the most colorful legend is that it was created as an energy-giving treat for tired patrons of an Italian brothel in the 1950s. Another account insists that tiramisu was offered to soldiers during WWI in the hopes to give them energy and ensure a safe return. Whatever its origins might be we can all agree that this Italian dessert is for sure one to keep on hand and impress your guests!
When researching about the history of the tiramisu I found a number of recipe variations, all very similar and mostly using the same key ingredients: mascarpone cheese, sugar, eggs, lady fingers, espresso, a liqueur, and chocolate powder. For me coffee and zabaglione are the key ingredients when making the tiramisu. Zabaglione is an Italian dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and Marsala, a sweet wine. Today when making the tiramisu Marsala has been substituted or used together with other liqueurs such as Kahlua, Baileys or Amaretto; these are a few that go very well with coffee. As for the coffee used in the tiramisu I prefer espresso to the instant coffee which in my opinion has no flavor.
Tiramisu is a great Italian delicacy that after you try it once you may not be able to wait for a special occasion before you decide to serve it again.
- 1 lb. mascarpone cheese
- ¾ cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 packages of ladyfingers
- 2½ cups of espresso
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto
- ¾ cup crushed Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate
- Special dark Hershey's Cocoa
- Prepare the espresso coffee and transfer to container large enough to hold 2 or more cups.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture turns a pale yellow color and thick ribbons fall from the whisk.
- Add the mascarpone cheese to the egg yolks and mix until creamy. Make sure not to over mix. The trick is to mix, stop and scrape. So, mix the cheese mixture for one minute then stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Continue doing this until the mixture is creamy.
- Add the vanilla and the Amaretto and mix for a minute.
- Transfer the mascarpone mixture to another bowl.
- In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- With a rubber spatula gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture until well blended.
- Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into the coffee, line the bottom of a 13x9x3 baking pan.
- Spread half of cheese mixture on top of ladyfingers until evenly covered.
- Sprinkle the crushed chocolate over mascarpone mixture until evenly covered.
- Arrange another layer of coffee dipped ladyfingers over the crushed chocolate.
- Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture evenly on top and dust with cocoa powder.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Let the tiramisu stand at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes before serving.
Did you make this recipe?