Glenn and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary yesterday. We decided to celebrate with dinner out at a favorite Italian restaurant – we love all things Italian. Trips to our beloved destination, Italy, only heightened that love. Memories to last a lifetime! Well, at least until we can once again return.
Dinner out meant a day off in the kitchen. But really, I can’t stay out of there 🙂 I decided to make Tiramisu to enjoy when we returned home. That way we could digest our meal a bit before indulging! One problem, even with an hour drive back home we were still too full. Hello breakfast! The literal translation of Tiramisu is “pick me up” – I can’t think of a better way to start the day;) This football Sunday also happens to be Glenn’s yearly trip to a Lion’s game with his “old” school friends. So, slices were packed and sent for their pre-game festivities. Let’s hope it is enjoyed and the Lion’s can pull off a win!
Tiramisu is a delicious layered dessert. Espresso dipped ladyfingers, topped with a mascarpone cheese whipped concoction, a dusting of chocolate and repeated. I went slightly unconventional in my preparation on a few fronts: I used a hazelnut liquor vs rum or brandy; I “cooked” the eggs in a double boiler; and I used finely shaved bittersweet chocolate vs the standard dusting of unsweetened cocoa. The results were excellent.
1 ½ cups espresso or strongly brewed coffee, room temperature
6 Tablespoons hazelnut liquor, divided use [Frangelico]
6 large egg yolks
¾ cups sugar
pinch of salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 pound mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi ladyfinger [1 ½ packages of most brands]
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated finely
- Combine the espresso [coffee] and 2 Tablespoons of the hazelnut liquor in a shallow dish or pie plate.
- Place the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a heat safe mixing bowl. Using a mixer, beat ingredients on medium-high until it is thick and creamy and turns a pale yellow, about 4 minutes. [This can be accomplished by hand, using a whisk, but will take about 8 minutes to reach the goal.] Stir in the heavy cream.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Reduce the heat to low and stir constantly until the mixture registers 160 on a thermometer, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, transfer the mixture to clean bowl, and cool to room temperature.
- Using a mixer, add the mascarpone cheese and the remaining 4 Tablespoons [1/4 cup] of hazelnut liquor to the egg mixture and beat at medium speed. Initially, the mixture will look thin and slightly curdled. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to beat until smooth and very thick, about 3 minutes.
- One at a time, sip the ladyfingers into the espresso [coffee] mixture, turning just once to lightly moisten. Cover the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with the moistened cookies. Gently spread half of the mascarpone cheese mixture over the cookies and sprinkle with 1 ounce of the grated chocolate. Repeat with the remaining cookies, mascarpone and chocolate. [I topped the final layer with a few larger pieces/crumbs of the chocolate.]
- Cover the tiramisu tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours so it is thoroughly chilled and cookies are tender and cake like. To serve, slice in squares or scoop into individual bowls. Recipe adapted from the cookbook: America’s Test Kitchen, The Best Italian Classics