June 17, 2007

Incredible Tiramisu

Last year on my husbands birthday, he and I went to a European Bakery in our city to have coffee. I picked a slice of carrot cake to go with my coffee and he picked his first slice of tiramisu. It was love at first sight for him and he adored it. I tucked away the information and planned on making tiramisu for him in the future.

Over the next few months I looked up many different recipes for tiramisu. I was surprised at how many 'short cuts' were taken, how many people changed the recipe because the original used raw eggs, how many added ingredients like pudding mixes and used regular 'strong' coffee. Gah! Ok, so you have a 'dessert' but it's not tiramisu so don't call it that!

I was determined to make the authentic version or at least as authentic as I could get with products I could find in the USA. My biggest hurdle was the fact I didn't own an espresso maker yet. I had assumed (wrongly) that they were expensive and hard to use. I love caramel macchiato's and espresso so it only made sense to get one. I was happily surprised to see I could get an excellent cappuccino/espresso maker for about thirty bucks! I figured at the time if it only made 5 cappuccino's before it broke, I would break even with what I would have paid for five of them at Starbucks - so what did I have to lose? Averaging just about $30 retail this little 4C Cappuccino Espresso Maker is a bargain!

So I had my espresso machine, now to track down the Italian Espresso, the Savoiardi ladyfingers and the mascarpone cheese. To make a long story short, those items took me months of 'keeping my eye out' for them. In the end, I bought another brand of authentic imported ladyfingers from Italy, I used a dark blend of Italian coffee that I ground to espresso myself and I found the mascarpone in a a new European market that just opened last month. It was time to make the Tiramisu!

Just in time for Father's Day... which is what my husband is going to be surprised with this morning when he wakes. Authentic Tiramisu.

Incredible Tiramisu

1 lb. mascarpone cheese
6 eggs, separated
2 packages Ladyfingers
4 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 oz. brandy
8 espresso's (2 pots of the 4 cup Melitta Espresso maker I mentioned above)
3 T cocoa (approximately)

Bring all ingredients to room temperature for easier whipping. When you make the espresso pour it into a flat bottomed container (not a bowl) and add 1 oz. brandy and 1 t of the cocoa.

In your mixing bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar until it's creamy, pale yellow and thick. Add 1 oz. brandy and the mascarpone cheese. Continue beating until blended and smooth. In another bowl beat the egg whites and vanilla until light and quadrupled in size. They will hold their shape when you lift the beaters. Fold the beaten egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Do not over mix and do not use an electric mixer or you will ruin it. Fold by hand until blended and light.

Dip each of the lady finger cookies quickly into the espresso and place in the bottom of a 9X13 dish. Place sugar side down and cover the bottom. (Do not let the cookie sit in the espresso. Just dip and remove.) When the bottom is covered, add a layer of the mascarpone about one centimeter in hight. Add another layer of dipped ladyfingers and another layer of mascarpone. Top it off by sprinkling the top of the dessert with cocoa to cover. Refrigerate overnight.

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