oh, tiramisu. the quintessential italian dessert, and i would have to say one of the top 5 best desserts of all time. i know that’s a pretty heavy statement to make, and i already can think of a few people who would protest and call out “pffffft, no way. top 5? get out of here!”, but it’s the honest to goodness truth. delicate lady fingers soaked in espresso with the cloying taste of liqueur, sandwiched between clouds of creamy, tangy mascarpone whipped cream topped with a dusting of dark chocolate. read that again and tell me it doesn’t sound like what heaven might actually be – go on, i dare you! if that’s not enough, tiramisu actually means “cheer me up” or “pick me up”. so i mean, on the basis of name alone it’s pretty lit.
i’ve been eating tiramisu my entire life, my nona always makes a giant dish of it once a year for me on christmas eve, and any time i’m ordering dessert it’s my go-to. besides my nona’s an my own, soho house used to have an amazzzzing tiramisu on the menu, where they would come out with a giant dish and load it into your bowl until you said “stop”. drool.
the recipe calls for using marsala or brandy in the espresso mixture, but i used a beautiful chestnut liqueur that i got in italy at my family’s distillery, amaro penna. it’s soft and creamy and sweet and made for my favourite tiramisu ever. if you can’t find marsala or brandy, you can sub bailey’s or even better would be kaluha or tia maria.
the ingredients list is short and sweet, the prep takes a bit of time, but it’s straightforward enough for you to make this at your next dinner party and impress (and i mean impress) your guests. ✨
*makes one 8-inch baking dish
3/4 cup brewed espresso
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala, dark rum, brandy, or coffee flavoured liqueur
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2-3 tablespoons liqueur you decide to use
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
about 20-24 large lady fingers
sifted cocoa powder or grated chocolate
mix the first 3 ingredients together until sugar dissolves and let cool.
place egg yolks, sugar, and remaining liqueur together in a metal bowl and place over a pot of lightly boiling water. the bowl should not touch the water. whisk constantly for about 5-10 minutes, until the mixture doubles in volume and has a thick, foamy consistency. remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes, then add the mascarpone cheese and whisk until smooth.
using a stand or hand mixer, whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then gently fold in the whipped cream in two additions until smooth.
to assemble: dip ladyfingers very quickly into espresso mixture and line them in one layer in an 8-inch baking dish. if necessary, break a few to help them fit into the dish. spoon half the whipped cream mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth the top. cover with a later of finely grated chocolate or sifted cocoa powder. repeat with a second layer of coffee dipped ladyfingers, and top with remaining cream. cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. this will let the flavours meld and the lady fingers will soften.
when ready to serve, top with another layer of shaved chocolate or sifted cocoa or both and serve chilled.