How to make Tiramisu
Some desserts are simply crowd pleasers and Tiramisu falls exactly into this category. If you need to prepare a dessert for six, twelve or 300 people, Tiramisu is a great choice because 99% percent of the guest will simply love it. Just as nearly everyone cares for warm apple pie with ice cream, nearly everybody adores Tiramisu. It’s why so many restaurants have it on their dessert menu.
Tiramisu is somewhat related to cheesecake, which by the way is another gift from the Italians. But while cheesecake is very much country, Tiramisu is more City. Hip city I might add. Around the world, every country seems to have their own version of cheesecake, some use ricotta, Neufchatel, cream cheese, quark cheese and others. But when it comes down to Tiramisu, most pastry chefs agree that Tiramisu should be made with Mascarpone cheese. Is there a substitute for mascarpone cheese? Not in my judgment, to save a couple of dollars on a dessert for six people? That would be silly. Flavor wise there simply is no better cheese for dessert applications than mascarpone.
Just like anything else, people have different opinions on what a true tiramisu is, but most would agree that Tiramisu is composed of Mascarpone cream, ladyfingers moistened with a pure espresso or coffee liquor syrup and finished with cocoa powder and or chocolate. About the preparation of mascarpone cream, in my book, food safety is always my first concern and this cream should never be prepared with raw eggs. What kind of sense would that make?
People often disagree on whether to soak the ladyfingers in pure espresso or in coffee liquor syrup. It depends on several factors. If you can get hold of some good espresso, (One of my favorites is Kimbo), one with buttery and chocolaty notes, then dipping a good quality lady finger in such can be great. However, good lady fingers certainly do not include sugarcoated Styrofoam sticks available everywhere. The good news is that you can always make your own ladyfingers. Homemade ladyfingers have a perfect sweetness level and are delicious when moistened with delicate liquor syrup.
Getting it all together!
Whether you make a modern version of Tiramisu or a classic version assembled in a dish, it will be delicious either way. Check out the perfect ladyfingers recipe on this site and quickly whip up a batch, ladyfingers can be frozen well wrapped for at least 2 weeks so you can always make these ahead. Tiramisu itself can be made a day before your party and in fact if you like you can also freeze it. You can go many ways with Tiramisu, serve it in a modern glass to give it a fresh look or make it in a silicone dome shapes as shown in the pictures for an elegant look.
Before you start on the mascarpone cream make certain that you have the ladyfingers and moistening syrup ready and the vessel you will assemble the tiramisu in. Once the mascarpone cream is made it needs to be immediately used. It’s kind of like working with cement, once it is ready it needs to be poured! Be creative and use something hip to make your Tiramisu. Remember if you are working in silicone forms, the Tiramisu will have to be frozen for many hours before it can be removed from the mold.
Mascarpone cream for Tiramisu
Yield: 4-6 servings
|4||(4 )||Egg yolks||4|
|¼ Cup||(2 oz)||Water||60 ml|
|6 Tablespoon||(3 oz)||Extra fine granulated sugar||90 g|
|8 oz||(8 oz)||Mascarpone cheese||240 g|
|1 teaspoon||(1 tsp)||Vanilla extract (Optional)||5 ml|
|¾ Cup||(6 oz)||Whipping cream (34-36% fat)||180 g|
- Place the gelatin leaves in very cold water and set aside.
- In a cold bowl whisk the whipping cream to very soft ribbon consistency. Absolutely do not whip to a peak! Set aside.
- Fill a saucepan with a small amount of water and bring to a boil and then turn to a low simmer. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and measured water. Add the sugar and whisk well. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk constantly until the yolk mixture reaches at least 165°F (74°C). Remove from heat.
- Remove the gelatin leaves from the water and squeeze well to remove excess water. Whisk the gelatin into the yolk mixture. Add the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract and whisk smooth.
- Add the soft whipped cream and gently fold into the above using a spatula. Fill into the mold immediately.
Moistening syrup for Tiramisu
|½ Cup||(4 oz)||Extra fine granulated sugar||120 g|
|½ Cup||(4 oz)||Water||120 ml|
|2 teaspoons||(2 tsp)||Instant coffee||10 ml|
|3 Tbsp||(1.5 oz)||Amaretto||45 ml|
- In a non reactive saucepan bring to a boil the sugar and water. Remove from heat and add instant coffee. Let cool.
- Add the liquor.
- Brush the syrup heavily on the ladyfingers, they should be thoroughly moistened.