I must admit, I am a sucker for the classics. Classic desserts in particular. There is one dessert that I have been making for years and will continue to make for the rest of my life and that is the Italian Classic Tiramisu. If you have never had a slice of Tiramisu before, to put it simply, you are missing out on one of the finer things in life.
If you haven’t had Classic Tiramisu, it is a coffee flavored Italian dessert consisting of layers of lady fingers dipped in espresso and coffee liqueur, a creamy mascarpone filling, and dusted with cocoa powder.
In my opinion, there are two keys to getting the perfect tiramisu:
Use quality ingredients.
Let the Tiramisu rest overnight.
First, the ingredients. Tiramisu is actually a very cheap dessert to make. The only ingredients are espresso, coffee liqueur, egg yolks, sugar, salt, mascarpone, heavy cream, and cocoa powder. All cheap ingredients but they all make the biggest difference in the final taste of your Tiramisu.
The first two ingredients, espresso and coffee liqueur, are the hardest two to get right. I make espresso at home with a Moka Pot. However, I know a lot of people don’t have one of these handy machines so the next best thing is to go to your favorite local coffee shop and get freshly brewed espresso there. You will need two full cups of espresso in this recipe. The nest ingredient is coffee liqueur. You can use any brand you prefer, most liquor stores carry various brands at various price points. I picked up a bottle of Cafe Lolita at my state liquor store for only $6.99! Other good options would be Kahlúa or Patrón Xo Coffee Liqueur, which most stores should have. If you need help picking one out, ask an employee at the store and they should be able to point out some good options. If you can’t have or prefer not to consume alcohol, you can omit it completely and replace with an extra half cup of espresso. It will taste just as delicious!
The next component to a great Tiramisu is the creamy mascarpone filling. Mascarpone Cheese is basically just Italian Cream Cheese but less tangy. You can find Mascarpone at most grocery stores nowadays. The key is to check the ingredient list, there should be three ingredients; milk, cream, and citric acid. Any other ingredients and it’s probably not a good quality product. Trader Joe’s has one and it’s only $2.99.
The last ingredient that you want to be the best quality possible is the cocoa powder. I highly suggest using Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder which has more depth of flavor and is darker than natural cocoa powder. You can also find this at almost any grocery store nowadays.
And as for the second tip, it is crucial to let the Tiramisu rest overnight. Doing so allows the individual layers of the dish to develop a better flavor and if cut into too soon, the Tiramisu will fall apart. If you are in a pinch, you can refrigerate it for an absolute minimum of four hours, but I highly suggest overnight.
This Tiramisu is a classic dessert and it never lasts long because everyone enjoys it so much. It is a perfect dessert for anytime of the year and if you are looking for a crowd pleaser, this is your dessert.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks recipe and if you did let me know on Instagram (@acommonkitchen) because I would love to hear from you!
Makes one Tiramisu
6 Large Egg Yolks
1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 ¼ Cups Mascarpone Cheese, softened
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Packages Lady Fingers *See Note
2 Cups Freshly Brewed Espresso, chilled completely
½ Cup Coffee Liqueur *See Note
3 Tablespoons Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
Combine egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and place over a medium sized pot that is at a gentle simmer over medium heat (this is called a double boiler!). Whisk the eggs constantly for 8-10 minutes or until the yolks register 165ºf on an instant read thermometer. The yolk mixture should be slightly thickened and it should leave a ribbon on the surface when you drop some of the mixture back into the bowl. Remove from the heat and whip until the mixture is thick and a pale yellow color and cooled down. Add in the mascarpone and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the heavy cream to a bowl and whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the mascarpone/egg mixture with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Transfer ½ of the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip. Set aside.
Pour the espresso and coffee liquere into a shallow dish and dip the lady fingers into it, about one second on each side (you do NOT want to over-soak them) and arrange them in a single layer in an 8x8" baking dish, cutting any down with a knife to fit the the dish.
Spoon ½ (half of what is in the bowl since half is already in a piping bag) of the mascarpone filling on top of the lady fingers and spread it out into an even layer with an offset spatula. Repeat with the second layer. For the third and final layer, add a single layer of lady fingers and pipe large blobs of the mascarpone filling on the top to cover it completely. This step is optional and you certainly can just spread a flat layer of the mascarpone filling on top, I just like the way it looks piped on.
Refrigerate the tiramisu for no less than 4 hours and preferably overnight. *See Note
Once the Tiramisu has chilled, remove it from the fridge and place it on top of some plastic wrap, parchment paper, or paper towels. Using a tiny fine mesh sieve, dust the entire top of the Tiramisu with the cocoa powder.
Slice and enjoy!
You can find Italian Lady Fingers at most grocery stores nowadays. I know that Whole Foods usually has them and most chain grocery stores do, usually in the isle with the pasta or Italian foods. If you can't find them at any local grocery stores, try calling a local Italian deli, they almost always have them. If all else fails, Amazon has some right here.
You can buy any brand of coffee liqueur that you prefer. I used Café Lolita but Kahlúa works just fine and is probably the most common brand. If you don’t or can’t consume alcohol, feel free to completely omit the alcohol all together,I have made it both ways and it will still taste just as delicious. Just replace the liqueur with equal amounts of espresso.
Without a proper rest in the fridge, the tiramisu will fall apart when you cut into it and try to remove a slice.