Tiramisù is probably the most famous Italian dessert, everybody loves it. During my time in the UK I have realised that offering to bring tiramisù to a dinner, a barbecue or even in the office for some special occasion, can induce a state of emotion and excitement in your audience. The sentence “I could bring a tiramisù” will open any door, so I have recently bought a tupperware big enough to contain 2 kg of tiramisù (in the background in the picture below). There is always someone interested in having the recipe, and even though publishing it will probably weaken my power over people, I have decided that the time has come to share it (obviously you could have just read it from the Silver Spoon book). But, before the recipe, a bit of history.
Tiramisù is originally from Treviso, in Veneto, and the name is a composite of two Italian words “tirami”, “sù” literally “pull me” “up” or “lift me” “up”. This is because tiramisù contains eggs, mascarpone, sugar and coffee and is sure to give you a big boost to keep you going – other than lots of calories. Despite its popularity, tiramisù is a recent recipe. There are no mentions of tiramisù in cookbooks before the sixties.
There are various versions of the recipe, with fruit, without coffee, with cream added to the mascarpone cream, etc. This is the one I use, which has the addition of grated chocolate on each layer and a small glass of Marsala, a sweet Italian wine from Sicily. Sometimes, when I feel in the need of sweetness, I like to add a bit of cream, but Michele prefers it without it.
400 g mascarpone
200 g savoiardi (lady fingers)
150 g caster sugar
200 g dark chocolate
4 very fresh egg yolks
2 egg whites
1 small glass Marsala (optional)
Prepare the coffee. In one bowl whip the egg whites and in a separate bowl grate the dark chocolate and set aside. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl and add the sugar, whisk until the eggs and the sugar have completely combined and have the consistency of a thick cream. The sugar should be completely dissolved. Add the mascarpone in two or three steps and whisk until you have a thickly whipped cream. With a wooden spoon add the whipped egg whites – you have to be very gentle. The mascarpone cream is done!
Spread a bit of mascarpone cream at the bottom of your serving dish. Put the coffee into a shallow dish and dip in one savoiardo at a time for few seconds until they are nicely soaked, but not soggy. Layer these into your dish one next to the other, covering the whole area. Spread over one layer of mascarpone cream to cover the savoiardi and then sprinkle with the grated dark chocolate. If you have enough mascarpone cream repeat the layers but make sure to finish with a layer of mascarpone cream. At the end dust the top with cocoa power.
Cover and leave it to rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Enjoy!
Note: The perfect savoiardi should be 2 cm thick and they are not easy to find here in the UK. The only big shop that has them is Waitrose.