Tiramisu’s creamy cake texture is light and seemingly airless. The chocolate, liquor and espresso are not subtle, individually felt notes but rather ties to a sublime symphony. You know, it’s no big deal or anything. Tiramisu in its strictest and most accurate description is cool, some would even say, chill. Tiramisu is best when made and refrigerated overnight.
I like to order tiramisu when I ever I see it on the dessert menu. I like to taste all the different variations and what the restaurant likes to serve it in. I serve my tiramisu in a large glass bowl. The variations are mostly textural (dependent upon cream and the lady finger base). I don’t like when it is custardy or very sweet. Tiramisu should have no hint of vanilla. Tiramisu is most delicious when it is bitter-sweet and has dry, dusty layers between the moist lady fingers. Your spoon should reveal each careful and thin layer of shaved chocolate and cream.
Despite all this sweet gestation, tiramisu is remarkably easy to make. It’s mostly a layering process. I made tiramisu for 30 people at our New Year’s Eve Party this year. I would take more credit for the whole endeavor if I actually made the lady fingers from scratch. I bought mine from Union Market but places like D’Vine Taste and Blue Apron also carry them in the neighborhood.
I looked at a number of recipes online and improvised some. For one, I do not buy Kahlua to dip my lady fingers in. I brew espresso coffee and cool it with a generous cup of light rum instead. Rum is considerably less expensive than Kahlua as well. Unless I’m drinking white russians with cookies while watching The Big Lebowski on the couch, I’m not sure what else I would use Kahlua for.
Tiramisu requires the elusive double boiler. I’m not sure how many people own “double boilers” but I improvised with a deep pot and an aluminum mixing bowl on top. The only difficulty with my design is the mixing bowl slid around while I mixed the egg yolks and sugar. I recommend a good pot holder to steady the two pots together.
The real key to good tiramisu is investing in its ingredients. You want to buy organic cream and sugar. You want to buy organic eggs. I stress this because, even if you do not normally buy organic dairy or eggs, this recipe really needs a solid base to stand upon. You want good chocolate. You want good cocoa. If you need a better rationalization: this is a dessert that is too indulgent to make that often. You might as well splurge. Cream baby cream!
Tiramisu for a large party
- 12 egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
- 3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 24 ounce package of ladyfingers
- 1 cup espresso coffee and 1 cup light rum combined
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, fine, cocoa
- 1 unsweetened, fine, chocolate block (to shave with a vegetable peeler or cheese grater)
- Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
- Add mascarpone to whipped yolks. Beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff but not Twin Peaks.
- Line the bottom of a large glass bowl with a layer of lady fingers. Brush with coffee liqueur (for a more moist lady finger, dip each one into the coffee liquor and place in bowl). Spoon and spread the cream over the lady fingers, careful not to tear them. Pour the mascarpone mixture on top. Dust with cocoa and chocolate curls. Repeat this process until all of the ingredients are finished.
- Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.