Pick Me Up: Tiramisu

March 2011

I had dinner plans with two very special ladies in my life, and I was going for an overall Italian themed meal.  A fancy Tiramisu seemed just the right dessert to top off the night.  I’ve eaten Tiramisu every now and then, but I’ve never been attached to it at the spoon until I made it myself.  I am not boasting, just confessing.  This was one of those desserts that demanded a nibble each time I opened the refrigerator door.  The Italians weren’t kidding when they called this dessert “Pick Me Up.”  Luckily, I shared most of it, or I would have had a real chocolaty, creamy overload.   

Being the purist that I am, this recipe began with the ladyfingers and continued as such…

Directions

Stir the espresso, coffee granules and 5 Tablespoons of the Frangelico in a wide bowl until the coffee dissolves; set aside.

Use a mixer to beat the egg yolks at low speed until just combined.

Add the sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1 ½  to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the remaining 4 Tablespoons Frangelico, and beat at medium speed until combined, 20-30 seconds; scrape the bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 to 1 ½  minutes.  Increase the speed to high and continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1 ½ minutes longer.

Use a rubber spatula to fold one-third of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.  Set the mascarpone mixture aside.

Working one at a time, drop one half of a ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, roll, remove and transfer to a glass baking dish (roughly 13 x 9 inch).  The entire drop and roll process should take no longer than 2-3 seconds for each cookie.

Arrange the soaked cookies in a single layer in the baking dish, breaking or trimming the ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into the dish.

Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, being sure to cover the entire surface.

Using a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of the cocoa over the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat dipping and arranging ladyfingers to form a second layer.

Add the remaining mascarpone mixture and then remaining cocoa.

Wipe the edges of the dish clean, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.

Serve as the dessert to a dinner with lovely ladies!

PS: I had extra filling and just a bit of extra chocolate ladies, so I added some chopped walnuts and made a more nontraditional, less layered but equally addictive version.

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