Last updated on October 23rd, 2018 at 11:20 am
Authentic Italian Tiramisu Recipe
For the coffee mix
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 12 oz coffee
- 3.5 oz sugar
- 4 oz sweet wine Madeira, for instance
- 4 egg yolks
- 16 oz Mascarpone cheese
- 13 oz whipped cream
- 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 10 oz ladyfingers approx. 40
For the coffee dip
- You will need to prepare a pretty strong espresso coffee and once done, pour sugar on top of it, while still hot.
- Let it cool at room temperature.
For the zabaione filling
- Beat the 4 egg yolks in a bowl until they have a fluffy consistency.
- Beat the egg yolks in a heat proof bowl or in the bowl of a double boiler until they become fluffy.
- Proceed to beat them with the wine and sugar.
- Take the bowl over a pan of water while it’s being heated. Don’t let it there until it boils, as the cream will have a heavy consistency before reaching boiling point.
- In a different bowl, pour the mascarpone cheese and mix it well. Add the whipped cream.
- Add the mascarpone on top of the zabaione cream and keep mixing until it has a smooth consistency.
Layering the cake
- Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee and place them horizontally or vertically over a container one by one, in a single layer.
- Distribute half of the zabaione cream on top of them.
- Repeat the ladyfingers layering process, then add the remaining zabaione cream.
- Sprinkle cocoa on top and let it sit in the fridge. Depending on when you started, you can either leave it there for 4-5 hours or overnight.
When I start talking about food, my mother somehow always ends up in the conversation, because her food made me love food in the first place. She wishes it would have made me love making food as well, but I guess you can’t have everything in life.
The reason why I am once again talking about my mom is that her desserts were (and still are!) out of this world. For a long time, as a child I didn’t even like chocolate and cakes and all that. Shocking, right? But then she just swayed me over with her recipes and one of my personal favorites will always be her Tiramisu. It’s just ridiculous. I’ve been to many restaurants trying their Tiramisu, but not even the best one can compare to my mom’s. I think that is in part because she always follows a traditional tiramisu recipe and most of the time, “traditional” stands for “the way it’s supposed to be”. But before I reluctantly share my mother’s way of making Tiramisu, let’s go a little bit through its history.
WHAT DOES TIRAMISU MEAN AND WHAT’S THE HISTORY BEHIND IT?
You might be surprised, but Tiramisu’s history has a lot to do with…love. Okay, maybe that’s not that surprising when you take into account the many smooth and creamy layers and the bitter, but pleasant taste of coffee, mixed with chocolate and cacao. I mean, what’s not to love about it?
Tiramisu, in Italian, stands for “pick me up”, but its meaning takes various shapes, as it can also be interpreted as “cheer me up”. Rumor has it, this cake was baked with all the love in the world by a girl, to express her love for a boy, because sometimes a cake tells more than words. Another story just as lovely has another woman at its center—a wife, this time, who thought of a way for her husband who was preparing to go to war to think about her. So she used everything she could find in her kitchen (eggs, biscuits, cocoa, cheese) to bake something unforgettable and to also keep him awake and strong in battle, thanks to the addition of coffee.
It was a dessert made with love, so that he could take it with him and think of better times. In a way, the sweet and bitter taste of the Tiramisu can be seen as some form of a metaphor for wars. Wars are bitter, but the thought of having people who love you waiting at home, made the pain more bearable.
WHERE DID TIRAMISU ORIGINATE?
The history of Tiramisu once again is one of those confusing recipes that you don’t know whom to attribute to. A consensus seems to be that it was born in Treviso in 1970, first starting out as a “sbatudin”, which is like Tiramisu in its first, undeveloped and unlayered form. Eventually, “sbatudin” turned into the authentic Italian Tiramisu recipe we all love, by influences from other Italian regions.
In the late 60s, a gastronome and actor called Giuseppe Maffioli published a book about Treviso cuisine where he talks about eating zabaione cream with biscuits with the whole family as being a Venetian tradition. Okay, now that starts to sound more like a Tiramisu, right?
The “Tiramesù”, as it was called in the beginning, was served for the very first time at a restaurant called Alle Beccherie by a pastry chef called Loly Linguanotto, who was just returning to Italy after perfecting his baking skills in Germany. The Tiramesù was an instant hit and not only was it served in the province of Treviso, but also throughout the great Veneto and throughout entire Italy. And as all good things, it just became famous worldwide and got various variations, like this pistachio tiramisu recipe.
HOW IS TIRAMISU SERVED?
Tiramisu is a dessert served semifreddo—which means it’s not ice cream, but it’s not lava cake either. It’s perfect to eat just as you take it out of the fridge and it actually tastes better if you leave it to sit overnight and even after a few days. Although, honestly, when it comes to such a dessert, it’s quite a challenge to let it sit for too long. I guess that’s the Italian charm of food, where anything as basic as a salad dressing or pasta will be eaten on the spot, with no leftovers.
Other Italian Traditional Desserts: