Probably the most famous Italian dessert (maybe after the ubiquitous gelato), tiramisù can be found at Italian restaurants in Italy and abroad.
It’s considered a semifreddo layer cake because it uses ingredients you might find in gelato, but without the freezing preparation and the zabaglione cream is whipped up, then spread over layers of ladyfinger cookies. The origins of this classic are a topic of great debate, many people claiming it to be a recent invention, with even the place of origin disputable, either in Tuscany or Veneto. Its name literally translates to “pick me up,” probably because of the pretty high caloric content, the presence of caffeine in the coffee and chocolate and a bit of sweet liquor in the cream.
And, guess what? It’s actually pretty easy to make at home! Just follow the recipe below and you can be enjoying delicious tiramisù at home in no time!
Cooking time: 15 minutes (plus at least 2 hours for chilling)
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar (100-120 grams)
- 500 grams mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup sweet Marsala wine (rum, port or brandy can also be used)
- Around 400 grams savoiardi cookies (Pavesini brand cookies also work)
- ½ – 1 cup any kind of coffee or espresso
- Sprinkling of bitter cacao powder
- Make the zabaglione cream. First whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until the yolks have lightened in color and expanded in volume. It’s very important to whisk enough because the eggs undergo a transformation during this process. Then mix in the rest of the sugar and the mascarpone cheese. Lastly, add the Marsala. (It’s a good idea to make the cream by hand so the eggs stay fluffy.)
- Prepare the first layer of cookies in a cake pan. Lay cookies flat in one layer covering the pan, then spoon just enough coffee or espresso to wet the tops of the cookies, making sure not to soak them in coffee!
- Spoon a hefty layer of zabaglione over the cookies, covering them completely. Continue with 1-3 more layers of cookies and cream (depending on the size of the pan), just make sure you have enough cream to completely cover the final layer of cookies.
- Generously sprinkle cacao powder over the top. It’s important to use bitter cacao to provide a nice contrast to the sweet cream.
- Put in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
- Arrange candles and sing happy birthday to a lucky birthday boy or girl. (optional)
- Si mangia! Enjoy your homemade tiramisù with your friends!
Please note: The recipe calls for raw eggs, so you should be aware of the salmonella risk involved with eating raw egg products. It’s best to make sure the eggs are as fresh as possible (the date of when it was harvested is usually printed on the packaging or directly on the egg itself) and that they come from a trusted source.