The best Italian tiramisù you will ever eat

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Tiramisù is definitely one of the most beloved sweets by Italian people, and it is also one of the most well-known around the world. If you want to surprise your friends, this is the recipe for you. Easy and really toothsome!

It comes from Treviso, in Northern Italy- a round shaped soft dessert, “tira-me-su” (in the dialect  of Veneto-cheer me up) was invented by a pastry chef in the 50s of the last century. Records of it may also be found in cookery books of some Jewish families with the name of “mascarpone  cream”.

Really simple, every family has got their own recipe (actually this is true for almost all the Italian dishes). I will show you my own version: it is the original one with a personal touch which makes it even more mouthwatering.

Top-ranked in my personal chart of the best desserts, tiramisù wanna a lot of coffee. Although Italian, I am not really fond of coffee, I don’t like its taste. Yet, tiramisù is the dessert of my dreams. When I eat out, at the end of an important meal, I always ask for tiramisù. I have been looking for the best recipes and taste for ages. I have found some pretty good ones. I have turned the best taste into the recipe you are going to read.

Unfortunately, as it happens for all the desserts, tiramisu is very rich in fat. Of course, you can’t have it every day, enjoy it on very special occasions. When you want to celebrate something important, opt for this toothsome, mouthwatering soft dessert, you won’t regret it.

Is it safe to eat raw egg yolks in tiramisu?

This is the point. A few years ago, I attended a short pastry course, where I was told I should pasteurize the eggs. That course was meant to train pastry chefs who were going to work in big supermarkets so, the safety issue was very meaningful. I was taught the following method: you have to bring a mix of sugar and water until 121°C (249,8°F) then you have to pour it into the eggs you are whipping. Finally, beat it until completely cold (20°C, 60°F) and whipped. Then you will add mascarpone cheese and, whipped cream or egg whites to taste, in this way, your cream will be perfectly pasteurized and safe. But you have to be really skilled, and keep the temperature under strict control , otherwise you will get something like scrambled eggs instead of a fluffy smooth cream.

Do you have to make tiramisu well in advance?

Tiramisù must take its time: it must meditate and rest before enjoying it. All the tastes, both strong and soft, will combine evenly in an unforgettable whole. Actually, this is a dessert you have to assemble “piece by piece” so it takes some time to let the flavors merge together- you can’t prepare this dessert the morning and have it for lunch. Make your tiramisù the evening before, let sit it in fridge overnight for a better taste and perfectly soaked  and creamy consistency.Of course, cover it with cling film to prevent it from being contaminated by other foods, or any dangerous elements.

How can you make tiramisu cake right from scratch?

Keep well in mind: you want only very fresh healthy organic  ingredients. Eggs may be responsible for salmonella bacteria which is housed only on their shell. If you add the sugar syrup at 121°C (249,8°F) while you are whipping the egg yolks, you will make your preparation safe. You do not have a food thermometer? When the water is boiling at 121°C (249,8°F), the sugar makes bigger and more thicker bubbles.

Eggs are the key ingredients for tiramisù: choose the best ones.

They must be extra fresh and if you don’t want to pasteurize them, opt for only organic controlled origin ones.

Opt for packaged extra-fresh Grade A eggs: it means that they are available on the supermarket counter after 3-9 days from the deposition; hence their air chamber (air sac) is thinner than 4mm. Freshness makes sweets from raw eggs safe and toothsome.

You should not make the cream with the eggs you can buy from your local farmer: they are too dirty and you can’t be sure about their actual freshness; keep in mind they are more prone to salmonella bacteria. You need perfection here! Do not wash the eggs as their shell is porous and bacteria might get into and contaminate the cream. Use a clean tea towel to remove any impurities and crack the egg with a sudden firm movement; do not shatter the shell into small pieces they may fall into the bowl with the yolks. The same for cracked eggs- they are not safe: bacteria may contaminate the yolk easily. Keep away from them.

Be careful: wash your hands, after you have cracked the eggs, otherwise you might transfer bacteria to the food or surfaces you touch.

All the ingredients you need:

  • Caster sugar is the best choice. More rustic kinds of sugar (such as cane) don’t fit this recipe because you want a smooth even cream.
  • Mascarpone: actually it is not cheese but it is commonly considered so. No doubt, it is a pile of toothsome fat from the cream coagulated by the addiction of citric acid at high temperature. Its texture must be smooth and even; if it looks like cottage cheese, do not buy it: it has gone off.
  • Dunking biscuits: it is an old debate: which ones? In Italy the two main competitors are Pavesini (plain light biscuits made of eggs and sugar) and ladyfingers. I usually stand for the latter because they are fluffier and they dunk evenly. If you have any sponge cake, it fits well this recipe too!
  • Coffee, plenty of coffee! It is the main ingredient of the tiramisù. If you want your dessert to be “relaxing” you may use decaffeinated coffee. You need about 12 cups of short Italian espresso, or about 250ml of American coffee for a perfect dunking operation! You may also use barley coffee if you prepare it for children: mouthwatering taste without any side effects! 
  • Cocoa powder: sprinkle it on your tiramisù just before serving it. Both sweetened or unsweetened  cocoa is perfectly paired with this delicacy.

The extra ingredients

  • Rum or Marsala wine: it makes the dessert even more flavorful, but children may not like it because the recipe does not want any cooking so the alcohol won’t evaporate.
  • Vanilla pod: it is an extra ingredient, which is not part of the traditional recipe. Scape the tiny seeds inside the vanilla pod with a sharp knife and add them to the mascarpone…really tempting.   
  • Whipped cream: it makes the tiramisù “lighter” and fluffier. It is sacrilege for the lovers of the genuine tiramisù, personally I think it favors a more stable and uniform result.
  • Chocolate shavings: it my own finishing touch. Sprinkle them on the layers: your tiramisu will get deliciously crunchy. I do love it!

5 common mistakes you must avoid

  • Whipped cream or whipped egg white? According to the purists, the recipe wants only whipped to stiff peak whites, no whipped cream at all. Firstly, going back up to the traditional recipe is quite hard work. Secondly, the most important pastry chefs in Italy, include whipped cream in their tiramisù. It is not just a matter of taste but it favors the texture too: even if you beat egg whites to stiff peaks, there will release some water after a few hours: liquid around the tiramisù is not really pleasant. On the other hand, whipped cream is more stable and keeps in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
  • When you pasteurize the eggs with the sugar syrup at at 121°C (249,8°F) to avoid any bacterial risks, make sure it is completely cold before adding the whipped whites or cream to your taste, otherwise the mix will go down and lose its typical fluffiness. Do not haste at all: beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, then let it cool down and, eventually, fold in the whipped cream or whites: your “compound” will get pleasantly compact but airy and silky, the same time.
  • Tiramisù is just made of the combination of two whipped compounds with the mascarpone: egg yolks and sugar, and whipped cream or egg whites. Everything must be perfectly whipped!
  • For a fluffy tiramisù the mixing technique is very meaningful: you have worked hard to make your compounds very airy, do not spoil all your efforts by mixing them carelessly. Watch out for these two very critical steps. First: beat the mascarpone until creamy texture and dilute it with a little egg and sugar mix to make it more liquid, then fold the remaining whipped yolks and sugar into the mascarpone with a delicate downwards movements. The same operation for the whipped egg whites or cream: use a little egg whites or cream to dilute the mascarpone and yolks mixture once more, and then for in the remaining with delicate downwards movements.
  • Sprinkled with cocoa powder, your tiramisù gets even more beautiful and tempting, but it must be tasty also inside. What do I mean? Sprinkle cocoa powder also on each layer.

What can I replace mascarpone with?

Someone does not like mascarpone, but you don’t have to renounce to tiramisù. Here are a few alternatives.

  1. Chantilly cream: you just need very cold whipping cream, according to where you live, you may also find heavy cream, or double, they all work just fine and (preferably) vanilla powdered sugar, about 200gr per 2 liter of cream. Pour the cream into a round cold mixing bowl you have kept in the freezer for at least 2 hours and start whipping on low speed; increase the speed when the cream start to get bubbly and then thicken. Whisk until it has doubled its volume; do not over whisk it, otherwise you will get butter.  Add sugar and give the cream a final whisk.
  2. Greek yogurt: it has high quite nutritional values, most of all when it is fat free. It is very rich in proteins, it has also a quite high content of carbs, and, differently from the mascarpone. The taste is very similar to the genuine plain yogurt. 
  3. Sweet ricotta cheese: if you, opt for sheep ricotta cheese, combine it with the egg yolk, and a splash of liqueur and caster sugar. Beat the sugar and the egg with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture has thickened and turned pale, then add the ricotta and the lliquer, mix on medium speed and then pour the mixture into a tea towel before using it.
  4. Cream cheese; due to its creamy texture it may well replace mascarpone in plenty of sweets (and tiramisu as well). Opt for low fat cheese, which will be less rich in calories than mascarpone, definitely.
  5. Custard or pastry cream: you need 4 eggs, 60 gr, of flour type 00, 500ml of milk, and 100 gr of sugar. Pour the milk into a pot, and put it over low heat. In the meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, the flour, and sugar gently. Remove the milk from the heat when it is just about to boil, remove it from the heat and and stir in the egg mixture, mix well being careful to eliminate any lumps. Cook over low heat stirring gently until it thickens.

The best Italian tiramisù you will ever eat

Read this recipe and forget I am a nutritionist.
I have to tell you the truth- Tiramisu is one of my absolute favorite desserts: it combines the light soft texture of the airy mascarpone cheese cream filling with the strong taste of coffee. Definitely scrumptious.
It is really rich in calories, it can't be part of your every day's routine. Have it on special occasions, or when you want to surprise your guests at end of the meal- Tiramisu always satisfies even the most refined palates.
Just a handful of ingredients you can easily find at the supermarket: organic heavy cream, and mascarpone cheese, first of all, then, vanilla pods (no vanilla extract) and ladyfingers (I will teach you how to bake them soon). I think you have everything else you need in your kitchen cupboard. If you don't fancy ladyfingers, replace them with biscuits which can be easily soaked.
Prepare the Tiramisu the day before: the ladyfingers will soften, the ingredients will combine evenly and the taste will get stronger. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian tiramisu, tiramisu
Prep Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 90 gr

    egg yolk (at room temperature ) it is about 6 yolks

  • 170 gr sugar
  • 50 gr water
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 250 gr

    mascarpone (at room temperature) 

  • 250 gr

    whipping cream or all white eggs, so about 6 (at room temperature ) Savoiardi o Pavesini 

    or sponge cake (about 220-250g of biscuits )

  • cold coffee

    (about 250ml or 12 short espresso) 

  • 1/2 cup

    Rum or Marsala wine (to taste)

  • unsweetened or sweetened cocoa powder 

  • 80 gr

    coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Instructions

  • Prepare the syrup to pasteurize the eggs: bring water and sugar until 121°C (249,8°F). Check the temperature with a food thermometer, if you do not have one just look at the sugar: at this temperature, it makes bigger and thicker bubbles than before
  • Divide the egg yolks from the whites: put the former into the bowl of your stand mixer (I use the kitchen-Aid) and start beating; 
  • Gently pour the syrup and beat on medium speed until the mixture gets cold, about 20°C (68°F), fluffy and pale yellow. A thermometer may be very useful, here.
  • Coarsely chop the chocolate, and seta side; 
  • Prepare the coffee, add the rum and let it cool down completely; 
  • Stir the mascarpone until creamy and fluffy; at the beginning it will be quite sticky then it will get more fluid; 
  • Add the vanilla seeds to the mascarpone cream and mix well with a wooden spoon; 
  • Dilute the mascarpone with a little egg yolk mixture: the mixture will get soft and ready to incorporate the remaining part of the egg and sugar mixture which you add now with gentle downwards movements; 
  • Whip the egg whites or cream into stiff peaks and fold in the the mascarpone cream. Here again, use a little whipped whites to dilute the mascarpone cream, then add the remaining  with gentle downwards movements.
  • Now assemble your dessert: dip the biscuits on both side in the cold coffee and arrange them in an aluminum or ceramic casserole; 
  • Spread the mascarpone cream on the top, sprinkle with cocoa powder and the coarsely chopped chocolate; 
  • Repeat one more time, spread the last layer of cream and top with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings; and here is your tiramisù; 
  • Wrap with plastic cling and refrigerate overnight.
  • Top with more cocoa powder just before serving, and it is done deal! 
  • Tiramisu doesn’t last long: it stays fresh up to 3 days in the fridge wrapped in cling film. 

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