Tiramisu

For a friend’s birthday, I wanted to make him a from-scratch Tiramisu because it is one of his favorite desserts. He has been asking for a while, so here it is! After scouring my cookbooks and the web, I was not able to find the perfect Tiramisu recipe (at least, not for me). I wanted the eggs cooked (health reasons–don’t want to get the birthday boy sick!), I wanted to use ladyfingers and not sponge cake, and I wanted it to be somewhat traditional. In the end, I combined a few ideas and came up with this. In my opinion, it is very tasty. You might want to add more alcohol (and I am not getting into the rum versus Marsala debate, I just prefer the taste of rum in desserts) because both the birthday boy and myself are not drinkers, so I wanted to keep it toned down for a first effort. Next time I might add more, although I do not feel it really needed it. I also learned about storing tiramisu! Apparently it gets better after the first day. The sifted cocoa powder gets darker, but that did not matter to us. It was still pretty.

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After a day of chilling

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The day it was made

This recipe also satisfied one of my goals for this year!

You could buy ladyfingers for this, but really they are super easy to make. The piping is the trickiest part, but not any harder than piping frosting onto cupcakes. I technically already made ladyfingers before, and I used the same recipe. But, I included it again here because I doubled it for this. If you need about 2-3 dozen ladyfingers and do not want to do much math, then use this one. If you also do not feel like halving, you can use the original for those amounts. The first time was before I started blogging, so I did not have any “process” pictures. This time I made sure to include those.

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The cookies became paler the day after they baked. Not sure why, but they still tasted fine.

I was really interested in how the cake would look after a day of chilling. The cocoa powder changed, as I mentioned above, and the powdered sugar “vanished”.

Look how dark the cocoa powder is!

Look how dark the cocoa powder is!

It also became more “cake”-like, although you can still see the separate cookies.

From the back.

From the back.

Directions for Tiramisu

Ladyfingers (double batch)

From Essential Pepin

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Beat the egg whites until you get firm peaks.

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Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar in a separate bowl until the mixture is a pale yellow (about 1 minute).

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Add the flour and whisk gently until smooth.

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Add half of the whites to the mixture and whisk quickly to loosen the egg yolk mixture.

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Fold in the other half of the egg whites with a spatula.

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Scoop the batter into a pastry bag and squeeze out the lady fingers. You want to aim for about 3-4 inches long. Cut the whole in your pastry bag large enough to make the ladyfingers about 1 inch wide. The cookies will get slightly bigger when baked, so leave some room around them. If you made a mistake with the piping, use fingers slightly wet with water to push the batter back into place.

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Sift confectioner’s sugar on top of each cookie. As you finish the last sheet, go back to the first and sift more sugar on top of all of the cookies right before baking.

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Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes until they are lightly golden and have a slight crust. Let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the baking sheets to cool completely.

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Coffee Mixture

  • 1 cup room temperature coffee (if using instant, use 4 Tablespoons of instant coffee for the one cup of hot water)
  • 2 Tablespoons rum (I used Kahlua; feel free to add more rum if you like things boozy)

Stir together the rum and coffee, and set aside.

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Mascarpone Filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, out on the counter while you start the filling
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Using a double boiler, or a heatproof mixing bowl set on a medium saucepan with an inch of simmering water, combine the egg yolks and sugar with a spatula.

The color will lighten as they cook, and it will get very loose.

The color will lighten as they cook, and it will get very loose.

Stir continuously until the temperature reaches 160 degrees F (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from the heat and use a stand mixer to beat the mixture until the bowl is just warm to the touch. Add the mascarpone and combine until smooth.

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Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.

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Fold the heavy cream into the mascarpone mixture.

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Assembly

  • Ladyfingers (about 2 dozen)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Chocolate curls (optional)
  • Coffee Mixture
  • Mascarpone Filling

You will need a 9-inch springform pan, an 8×8 square pan, or a cake pan (either 8 or 9 inches). Take the ladyfingers and line the bottom of your pan with them. Brush some of the coffee mixture onto each cookie with a pastry brush.

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Spread half of the mascarpone filling on top of the cookies, smoothing it out to form an even layer.

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Sift some cocoa powder on top.

I used a grinder jar from Trader Joe's that has coffee in it, too, besides chocolate. Mmmm.

I used a grinder jar from Trader Joe’s that has coffee in it, too, besides chocolate. Mmmm.

Next, layer more ladyfingers on top. Again, brush them with the coffee mixture.

Half of these have been brushed with coffee, and half not.

Half of these have been brushed with coffee, and half not.

Use the rest of the mascarpone filling to cover the ladyfingers.

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Sprinkle with cocoa powder and top with chocolate curls, if desired.

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A vegetable peeler makes a great peeler for chocolate that you soften slightly in the microwave.

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We also added some powdered sugar, but that gets absorbed while it chills, so if you want the look, wait until right before you serve it.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least 8 hours, but it will be best 24 hours later. The cake will continue to soak in the flavors as it sits.

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Directions for Tiramisu

Ladyfingers (double batch)

From Essential Pepin

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Beat the egg whites until you get firm peaks. Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar in a separate bowl until the mixture is a pale yellow (about 1 minute). Add the flour and whisk gently until smooth. Add half of the whites to the mixture and whisk quickly to loosen the egg yolk mixture. Fold in the other half of the egg whites with a spatula.

Scoop the batter into a pastry bag and squeeze out the lady fingers. You want to aim for about 3-4 inches long. Cut the whole in your pastry bag large enough to make the ladyfingers about 1 inch wide. The cookies will get slightly bigger when baked, so leave some room around them. If you made a mistake with the piping, use fingers slightly wet with water to push the batter back into place.

Sift confectioner’s sugar on top of each cookie. As you finish the last sheet, go back to the first and sift more sugar on top of all of the cookies right before baking. Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes until they are lightly golden and have a slight crust. Let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the baking sheets to cool completely.

Coffee Mixture

  • 1 cup room temperature coffee (if using instant, use 4 Tablespoons of instant coffee for the one cup of hot water)
  • 2 Tablespoons rum (I used Kahlua; feel free to add more rum if you like things boozy)

Stir together the rum and coffee, and set aside.

Mascarpone Filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, out on the counter while you start the filling
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Using a double boiler, or a heatproof mixing bowl set on a medium saucepan with an inch of simmering water, combine the egg yolks and sugar with a spatula. Stir continuously until the temperature reaches 160 degrees F (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from the heat and use a stand mixer to beat the mixture until the bowl is just warm to the touch. Add the mascarpone and combine until smooth.

Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the heavy cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Assembly

  • Ladyfingers (about 2 dozen)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Chocolate curls (optional)
  • Coffee Mixture
  • Mascarpone Filling

You will need a 9-inch springform pan, an 8×8 square pan, or a cake pan (either 8 or 9 inches). Take the ladyfingers and line the bottom of your pan with them. Brush some of the coffee mixture onto each cookie with a pastry brush. Spread half of the mascarpone filling on top of the cookies, smoothing it out to form an even layer. Sift some cocoa powder on top. Next, layer more ladyfingers on top. Again, brush them with the coffee mixture. Use the rest of the mascarpone filling to cover the ladyfingers. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and top with chocolate curls, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least 8 hours, but it will be best 24 hours later. The cake will continue to soak in the flavors as it sits.

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7 thoughts on “Tiramisu

  1. Your tiramisu looks soo good! I love that you made your own ladyfingers – it feels all the more special when you make all the components from scratch. The ladyfingers look perfect too – are homemade ones a bit softer inside than storebought? I was afraid of layering cocoa in tiramisu when I made it because I read that the cocoa will turn bitter when refrigerated (though that doesn’t sound like a big deal with this dessert).

    I just read Pepin’s memoir – very interesting, particularly the early war years and all his culinary training that started very young…

    • Thanks! The cookies are definitely softer than the store ones, but maybe I’ve never had the proper Italian bakery ones. 🙂 They’re easy enough to make at home, and they pair well with lots of frostings/etc. We ate the extra ones with some leftover chocolate frosting I had.

      The cocoa was fine–probably because of the creamy filling.

      I should check out his memoir–I bet he does have an interesting story!

  2. Pingback: Topic-Changing-Thursdays It’s Been 1 Year!? | fudgingahead

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