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Monday, June 16, 2008

Tiramisu: Just for a change of pace...

We were going over to Sean's for his housewarming party and it was a good opportunity to try something that I haven't done (or at least not in a long while and don't have the last tiramisu's recipe), without much risk. These guys are my friends and if it sucked, they'd either still try it or I could easily not bring anything since I didn't commit. As it was, I didn't have power all week and had a Dr. Appt so I literally went shopping for the ingredients at 4 and was at home with the tiramisu done, and all packed up by 6pm. So, that says something that this is a fast dessert.

For some reason, I got tiramisu stuck in my head. I'm not sure if it is anyone's favorite, but most people have had it once or twice and it's a common dessert to treat yourself to if you're out for a nice italian dinner. We had gone to Maggiano's a while back for a celebration, and ordered it there - it was quite delicious. It's not a particularly pretty dish, unless all your layers somehow come out perfect (I'm not sure how that could be done!) and anything served out of a trifle seems to just be a spooned out serving rather than a straight-edge slice. Still, the flavors are tasty and it seems this would be a crowd pleaser for sure: coffee liquer, sweet creamy mixture, spongy cake, and a hint of chocolate.

I searched for several recipes and decided to go with the "Classic" recipe (so it was called) on The sweet creamy custardy thing along is awesome (I of course tasted it before putting this all together), so I am going to keep that in mind. I think it would be PERFECT with strawberry shortcake, instead of the coolwhip. It's like a light and airy cheesecake and only takes 10 minutes!

Stupid Meijer didn't have lady fingers, and after wasting a ton of time searching up and down their aisles in every little place I could think of... then asking the bakery person who told me "it is seasonal, try by the butter" - but that was just another waste of time trekking back there. They had the crunchy ones but that was definitely not what I wanted. The amount of coffee liquer to make those soft would probably be gross tasting.

I remembered reading some Food Network's recipes... i.e. "Step 1, make your own sponge cake..." (at which of course, I was like "heck no!") and figured... well... Meijer has loafs of Angel Food Cake... that's a type of sponge cake ... good enough. Looking back, I think this is the way to go. I've had the soft lady fingers before, and they can turn out chewy. I prefer the angel food cake taste, too, though the lady fingers offer something pretty. Maybe I'd buy one package just to line the sides of the trifle, but still use angel food cake for the inside.

Anyway, I made a tiny little tiramisu for The Husband and I to taste before we departed for the weekend. It was great! The recipe says to let it set overnight. I honestly thought it was fine, so in a pinch - you can use it right away (this might be with the angel food cake only.) It may have even been better, though refridgeration was requested by The Husband. I highly recommend this recipe if you're looking for a good tiramisu taste. I didn't buy a fancy coffee liquor (mine was $9) and besides the cream stuff which took 10 minutes, everything was super quick to assemble. It's an adult taste (with the coffee) so I think this would work well at a dinner party. You could make it in a square pan or a glass bowl, too.

Classic Tiramisu (Means "pick me up" in Italian!)
as from here on ... See below for my notes.


6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese (i measured this in a "solids" cup, it took about 1 and 1/3 of those 8oz tubs)
1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 (12 ounce) packages ladyfingers (or use sponge cake or angel food cake cut into pieces/strips/etc!)
1/3 cup coffee flavored liqueur (i think i used way more than this)

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate


1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.

2. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks. Beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold into yolk mixture and set aside.

3. Split the lady fingers in half, and line the bottom and sides of a large glass bowl. Brush with coffee liqueur. Spoon half of the cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat ladyfingers, coffee liqueur and filling layers. Garnish with cocoa and chocolate curls. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

4. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.

My Notes:
I created my own double boiler by using a small pan with a little bit of water, and a metal bowl that when placed in the pot - it did not touch the water. This worked out great. I used a wisk and even though things seemed like they might get clumpy, the end product was smooth. I used my kitchenaid for the heavy cream, and everything folded in together nicely. This is the perfect light and airy cheese-cake flavored cream that would go great with pound cake and berries, or whatever else you can dream up. Delish on its own.. my favorite part of this recipe!

I incorporated a dusting of chocolate in between each layer, and I had more layers than described in the recipe, so that my trifle would look pretty. I bought two angel food cake loaves from the store, and only used 1.5. I think this soaks up more liquer than the recipe calls for, I bet I used more than 1/3 cup - more like 1 cup! The taste was not over powering. I sliced angel food cake loaves and then halved them. I bet there was a prettier design to cut them into, but this worked out fine. Again, I thought it tasted great right away (I made a sample mini tiramisu) so if you don't have time to let it sit overnight, just pop it in the fridge until dessert!


  1. I used pound cake instead of lady fingers once upon a time. You can just slice it up and it probably doesn't soak up as much of the marscapone and liquor as angel food cake.

  2. Thank sounds even tastier! Thanks for the great idea. :)