Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tantalizing Tiramisu

Who doesn't love a little Italian pick me up for dessert? If you love espresso (or coffee) and love creamy, rich and elegant desserts then you will certainly love this tiramisu recipe. This requires a couple steps but is actually fairly easy to assemble, plus if lined in a nice trifle dish, would make a really great dessert for a nice occasion.

3 eggs, separate white from yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (don't use cream cheese)
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
coffee liqueur
*a couple packages of lady fingers

First things first. This does use raw eggs, so use only eggs you trust. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar for a couple of minutes until it becomes thick and pale. Beat in the mascarpone and some of the coffee liqueur, start with one table spoon. If you want a little more then add it, but not too much, you don't want this to become watery, plus you will be using more later on.

Set aside the egg/cheese mixture and beat the whipping cream until stiff. While it is beating you can add some more coffee liqueur, but again, not too much you don't want these mixtures to be too coffee flavored anyway.

Next, fold VERY carefully the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture. I say "carefully" because you just spent all this time whipping air into the cream, and you want it to stay as whipped as possible while gently folding in the egg/cheese. So what you do is you start with a large spoon of the whipped cream and fold it into the egg/cheese. Do this a few times until the whipped cream is gone. This will be the creamy part of the tiramisu.

Now, you need to very quickly dunk the lady fingers into the coffee, if you want to add a little liqueur to the coffee, feel free. Booze can be your friend here. The fingers will still be hard and dry but will soften up once the tiramisu is assembled, and if you allow the fingers to sit for too long in the coffee, they will fall apart and create a wet and soggy tiramisu, not what we are going after. So again, dunk very quickly, maybe a second or two on each side, and place them at the bottom of a glass dish. Once the bottom is layered with the fingers, add half of the mascarpone whipped cream mixture, and then another layer of coffee dipped fingers and then the rest of the mixture.

Let the tiramisu sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours at the very least. If you try to eat this right away, the lady fingers will be too crunchy and ....well, just don't do it!

*Lady fingers are a dry cookie in the shape of, well, a lady finger! You can find them fresh at many grocery stores and dried. I actually found and bought dried ones from the Christmas Tree Shoppe of all places, but this goes to show that you never know what you will find at stores like that (which is why I love them).

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