Here is my tiramisu story. When T and I were first dating, I wanted to make him his favorite dessert tiramisu, and mine as well. So my mom and I researched tiramisu recipes on the then new internet (I was in high school). We found several recipes that look acceptable and combined them slightly, with one being the main one we would make. So I bought all the ingredients, and my mom bought the liqueur, and I went to cooking. As I tasted it afterwards, I noticed that something was missing. I thought for a second that it just needed to sit and let the flavors marry (which does need to happen when you make tiramisu). I also tried to make it a little bit better by sprinkling it with hot chocolate mix. Then T came over, and I timidly served him his tiramisu. My dad was sitting at the table and got a piece as well. After a couple of bites, my dad looked at me and said, “Darlin’ I love you, but this is terrible.” T looked at me a said something to the effect of, “it doesn’t taste like tiramisu but I’ll eat it”. Come to find out after we looked over the recipe, it did not call for any sugar in the custard. Zip! And if you know mascarpone cheese, it needs sweetness. Well that went down the drain, and from then on I knew two things: T was a keeper if he would eat my disasters, and I needed to make up for the bomb of a dessert I had made. Later that month I make a four layer toffee crunch cake for him. He was not in the least bit disappointed.
Several years later, his mother and I had a race to make a tiramisu for him. She won and ordered tiramisu as T’s groom’s cake for our wedding. Last year, I attempted tiramisu for his birthday again. After some unfortunate events including me stranded at a gas station without a phone and my car with little gas, I made the dessert just in time for him and his family to walk in the door to celebrate his birthday. When we ate the tiramisu for dessert after dinner (out thankfully), the flavors were almost present. Everyone agreed the flavors just needed to hangout a bit longer for the dessert to live up to a high standard. The next day, the dessert was a perfect melody. T adores it, and I am proud of my accomplishment. So I present it to you here…
I highly recommend making your own ladyfingers. They are extremely easy, and they are so much cheaper than the best ladyfingers you can buy. The cheap ones are almost rock hard, and not very tasty. Plus you can monitor how big you make these things.
Also make this at least a day ahead. The flavors will be more developed. The hard part is not telling anyone what that lovely looking dessert is in the fridge and keeping them away from it for a day!!! 😉 Enjoy!
Ladyfingers (From Allrecipes.com)
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a pan with parchment paper and cooking spray. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks. Slowly add in 1 tablespoon sugar. Whip the egg whites until stiff and glossy. Set aside.
Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar until very pale and yellow. Fold in ½ of the egg whites. Then sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold until complete incorporated. Fold in the last of the egg whites.
Pipe or spread the batter on a prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool. If you baked it in one big “cake”, cut into strips.
2 egg yolks
8 ounces cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
½ pint (1 cup) whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua
Prepare a double boiler. (Have a small amount of water on simmer in a saucepan with a heatproof bowl on top. I used a small sauce pan and a glass bowl.) Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl on top of the double boiler until pale and yellow, about 5 to 7 minutes, and until warm to touch. This will kill anything learking in the eggs. 😉 Whip the whipping cream in a separate bowl until thick and stiff peaks, about 7 minutes. Cream the cream cheese or mascarpone cheese into the egg yolks until blended and smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Add the Kahlua, and blend.
½ cup Kahlua1 cup strong coffee or espresso
Mix the Kahlua and espresso together. Soak the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture for about 5 seconds. Place in the bottom of a 4*4 pan. Brush with more of the coffee mixture. (You will make two layers, so all of the ladyfingers will not fit.) Spoon one half of the custard mixture on top and spread to even it out. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and custard mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight.
When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with about ¼ cup cocoa powder.
Serves 4-6 people.