Tiramisu in Italian literally translates to ‘pick me up’ – and that’s exactly what this dessert is designed to do. After dinner when you’re feeling a l little sleepy, ready for a digestive nap on the couch, a serve of tiramisu will reverse that feeling thanks to the coffee and sugar contained in this most delicious dessert.
For years I followed the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe for tiramisu, which is dead easy to make and yields excellent results. As my friend Jackie Crooks attests after I sent her the link:
“The flavour was awesome! The sponge biscuits held together really well and
served up with them still in layers, though the coffee/marsala mixture had
soaked through them beautifully. It wasn¹t too heavy at all or overpowered by the large amount of cream/cheese. The guys all had seconds. My husband Justin described it as the best since eating at Pereginos (a well regarded fine dining Italian restaurant in Perth).”
However, it wasn’t until we had tiramisu in Taormina in Sicily for my sister Susie’s birthday during our family trip in 2012 that I discovered a new way to make tiramisu. The Sicilian version we had was light, fluffy, yet still decadent and luscious. I loved that it was so light and didn’t sit heavily on my stomach after a big meal.
The best recipe for this version that I could find is in the bible of Italian cooking – the Silver Spoon cook book, but – and this is very important – it does not include alcohol, which is no good. So here’s my version of Tiramisu:
2 egg whites and 4 egg yolks
150g icing sugar
400g mascarpone cheese
200g sponge finger savoiardi biscuits
175ml freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled (not instant)
2 cadbury flakes chocolate bars, crumbled
150ml Marsala liqueur ($12 for 750ml from most bottleshops)
Stiffly whisk the egg whites. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks with icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons of Marsala and then gently fold in the mascarpone. Once combined, gently fold in the egg whites taking care not to knock all the air out of them.
In a shallow bowl, mix coffee and remaining Marsala. Soak 3-4 sponge finger biscuits at a time for about 5 second each on both sides and place into a single layer in a rectangular dish. Spread a layer of the mascarpone cheese mixture over the biscuits. Repeat with another layer of coffee soaked biscuits and another layer of mascarpone mix. Crumble the flake over the top of the mascarpone mixture, leaving a few little chunks. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least three hours.
- Tiramisu is always better the next day, so make it the night before
- Be sure to use quality coffee
- I prefer tiramisu with Marsala, but it’s also good with Frangelico, Kahula, Tia Maria or Baileys
- I take the Mascarpone out of the fridge an hour before I make this to allow it to soften, which makes it easier to fold in
- If you prefer a wetter or dryer tiramisu, soak the biscuits for more or less time. I prefer it fairly wet which is what this recipe allows for.
- Try not to eat it all at once!
- If you are catering for children also, the above recipe can be adapted – don’t add Marsala and dilute the coffee with water before soaking the biscuits