OUR FAMILY TIRAMISÚ
The Italian word tiramisú can be translated as ‘pick-me-up’ – what better name for a dessert which combines coffee, mascarpone cream, and cocoa? Tiramisú is definitely one of those staple desserts in our family, and makes an appearance at most family meals and occasions – regardless of the season.
To me, the beauty of tiramisú is that it’s a dessert capable of delivering a great punch with a very simple, no-fuss process – there's no baking involved and the ingredients list is succinct. With no need to turn on the oven, tiramisú is a very summer-friendly option and it can easily be tweaked to personal preferences.
One of the main ingredients of is savoiardi, known as sponge fingers or ladyfingers in English. These are finger-shaped, dry egg-based sweet biscuits, which marry extremely well with coffee and have an ideal structure for soaking as they retain a lot of moisture and liquid without crumbling like a butter-based biscuit would. Just saying – these are also LOVELY dipped in some Marsala wine.
The recipe below is the one my mum, my aunties and my grandma would use. I‘ve adjusted some quantities to my tastebuds, but I’ll point out the areas where you’re free to make your own adjustments. Plus a bonus suggestion for a tiramisú make-over at the end.—Giada
MAKES 9 SQUARE PORTIONS (8" x 8” square tin)
400g of savoiardi (sponge fingers)
500g of mascarpone
3 tbsp of granulated sugar
3 large eggs
20 espresso coffees (I used my Italian stovetop coffee maker for this, but you can also use instant coffee and even decaffeinated, if you prefer)
1. First things first – make the coffee! The sooner you start the better as the coffee should be cold when you use it for assembling. I normally make it using my Italian stovetop coffee maker (which we call Moka) – I like a strong coffee so I tend to press it in the Moka and make espresso. At home my mum would normally use her coffee machine. Just prepare the coffee as you would normally and how you like it best, it really doesn't alter the process of the recipe.
TIP 1: Once the coffee is ready, tip it onto a deep, large dish (like a flat-bottomed pasta bowl) to aid the cooling process. This will also work best for the biscuit dunking that comes later.
2. While the coffee cools, you can prepare your mascarpone cream. In two separate bowls, separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Add 1 tbsp of sugar to the whites and beat into stiff peaks with an electric whisk. Set aside.
3. Add the remaining sugar to the yolks and beat them together until you get a smooth compound, a little lighter in colour. Add the mascarpone and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix it with the yolks until well combined.
TIP 2: I recommend not whisking the mascarpone as its consistency will become runnier – try to be gentle with this and the next step.
TIP 3: Depending on how sweet a tooth you have, adjust the quantity of sugar you add to your mascarpone cream. My version is on the less-sweet side so I would strongly suggest you sample the mascarpone cream as you go along.
4. Slowly and gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mix until well combined.
5. Now you are ready to assemble your tiramisú. Start by placing a couple of spoonfuls of mascarpone cream at the bottom of your tin or glassware.
6. Working one-by-one, dunk the Savoiardi into the coffee – make sure they are well coated and become considerably softer, as there’s nothing more disappointing than a dry tiramisú. Place the savoiardi in rows or columns, quite close together. Once you’ve completed a layer, add some mascarpone cream on top and level with a spoon.
TIP 4: Get all your bowls and ingredients ready and handy when you are assembling – there is a lot of potential for dripping between the coffee-soaked savoiardi and the cream!
7. Carry on like this until you use up all the ingredients – your last layer needs to be a cream one. Finish your dessert with a dusting of cocoa powder on top.
TIP 5: Depending on your taste for chocolate, you could add some cocoa powder in between layers or even some chocolate shavings.
6. Place in the fridge and chill for at least one hour before serving.
If you don't like coffee or are maybe looking for a more child-friendly option, you could try a version with blueberry juice, coconut and cream. (In my family it’s debatable that coffee isn't child-friendly as my gran used to give me a sip of milky coffee when I was 2!)
Instead of using eggs to stiffen the mascarpone cream, use heavy whipping cream. Add a couple of tablespoons of dry coconut into the cream and use blueberry (or other berry) juice instead of coffee for soaking the biscuits.
For more recipes, visit my food blog HERE. If you end up giving this recipe a go, I would love to see a snap of it. Simply tag @giadasplate on Instagram or send me a DM. Happy cooking and buon appetito!