Let me start by saying that I used to HATE Tiramisu (or at least I thought I did). You know that local Italian restaurant that was your parents go-to for special occasions when you were growing up? Painted murals of Italian countryside on the walls, white table cloths covered in paper, napkin fans and a large display of dusty wine bottles? Well ours was called Pinnochio’s and it was the first place I tried Tiramisu.
It was soupy and overly boozy (though I'm not sure that this would be a complaint I’d still have today) with an excessive amount of cocoa powder. The amount that leads to a coughing fit should you accidentally inhale with a bite in your mouth or even close to it. I avoided it for years, maybe decades. Now fast forward to 2017 where Tiramisu is, hands down, my favorite dessert. I order it whenever it’s on a menu knowing full well that it may disappoint. And it does more often than not. This recipe, however, won't.
While it may seem daunting, Tiramisu is actually pretty simple to make and can be stored in the the fridge for up to 3 days. My recipe calls for store bought savoiardi (lady fingers) and you’ll want to make sure they are the crisp variety, not spongey. I have yet to try making fresh savoirdi but I am sure they would work just as well, if not better.
Yield: 12 servings
2 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 tablespoons coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)
1 tablespoon rum (or substitute for an additional tablespoon of coffee liquor)
4 egg yolks
1/3 cups Marsala wine
2 1/2 cups mascarpone
1 cup heavy cream
2 7 ounce packages of savoiardi
2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Stir together water, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, coffee liquor and rum in a bowl until sugar has dissolved. Let coffee mixture cool.
Beat egg yolks, Marsala wine, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heat safe bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water using a whisk or electric mixer for 8 minutes (or until doubled in volume). Remove bowl from saucepan. Beat in mascarpone.
Whip cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.
Carefully fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream until combined.
Quickly* dip each side of savoiardi cookie into coffee mixture and line the bottom of a 9x9 inch baking pan with 14 ladyfingers in 2 rows, cutting down cookies to fit if need be. Spread a third of the mascarpone cream mixture on top. Repeat this step 2 more times (for a total of 3 layers).
Dust the top mascarpone layer with cocoa powder. Cover tiramisu and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (up to two days).
Remove tiramisu from the fridge and let it sit out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Feel free to dust with additional powder before serving!
* Cookie should still be crispy after dipping, not soggy. avoiardi will continue to soften while tiramisu sets in the refrigerator, I promise!