Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making Tiramisu

This classic Italian dessert is one of the most popular sweet endings ordered at restaurants, but it isn't difficult to make at home. While traditional Tiramisu calls for raw egg yolks, I substituted Zabaglione, another classic Italian dessert that is an egg custard flavored with sweet wine. The flavor is out of this world, with the dessert wine in the Zabaglione giving the Tiramisu even more depth. Know that, Tiramisu aside, the Zabalgione also makes a great dessert served over fruit like berries.

This recipe makes enough to layer the Tiramisu ingredients in a shallow 8-inch square pan. For the Tiramisu in the photo I doubled both recipes to create a giant version of the dessert to feed a crowd at a party. As you can see, I serve this version in a trifle bowl.

Mascarpone is a very mild cream cheese available in gourmet stores and specialty markets. Ladyfingers are small oblong sponge cakes sold in most stores.

2 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup espresso or strong black coffee
3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
about 24 ladyfingers
1 recipe Zabaglione (follow this link for recipe)

Beat the Zabaglione with the mascarpone cheese until smooth.

Pour the espresso into a shallow dish. Quickly dip a ladyfinger, turning to dip both sides and taking care to wet it, but not so much that it falls apart. Place a layer of soaked ladyfingers over the entire bottom of your dish. Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture over the soaked ladyfingers. Repeat with another layer of espresso soaked ladyfingers, followed by another layer of the mascarpone/zabaglione mixture. Sift cocoa powder over the top, cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

For a decorative striped effect on the top of your Tiramisu, cut out 1 inch wide strips of waxed paper and arrange in stripes on the top layer of mascarpone. Sift cocoa over the top, then carefully life off the waxed paper strips. The Tiramisu will now have cocoa stripes on the top layer.

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