Tiramisu: the classic Italian dessert

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Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert, which is loved by each and everyone across the globe. The word ‘tiramisu’ translates to ‘pick me up’ or ‘cheer me up’ in the English language. This classic dessert comprises of savoiardi sponge, or ladyfingers, which are dipped in coffee. These are then layered with a rich mixture of mascarpone cheese with eggs and sugar. This filling often flavored with coffee or cocoa. Though the classic recipe and composition remains the same, chefs across the globe have adapted this gorgeous flavor into different varieties of cakes and desserts.

History of Tiramisu:

Tiramisu

As per most accounts, the history of the tiramisu goes back to the 1960s. the confectioner Roberto Linguanotto, who owned Le Beccherie, is credited with first having created this fine dessert. Other sources, however, report that the dessert was created at the end of the 17th century to honor the Grand Duke Cosimo III. Whatever be the original source, it is sure that the dessert did not exist before the 1960s.

Additionally, there is also evidence that the dessert is inspired by the semi-frozen dessert Tiremesù, which saw served by the Vetturino restaurant in Pieris. The dessert also bears some similarities to the traditional Charlotte Russe. Even Charlotte is made up of ladyfingers and Bavarian cream.

Components of a tiramisu:

Tiramisu

A traditional tiramisu must comprise of the following components: ladyfingers, egg yolks, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder, liquor, and coffee. Though the original shape of tiramisu is round, it can also be set in a square or rectangular pan. Modern versions of the tiramisu are set in round glasses so that the various layers can be seen clearly. Whipped cream is also often added to the dessert, to make it lighter and fluffier.

Over time, different variations of the dessert have come into being. Unlike earlier times, when the egg yolks were added raw, they are now cooked to sterilize them. Coffee is now being replaced with a myriad of ingredients, such as chocolate, berry, strawberry, lemon, coconut, banana, raspberry, etc. to create newer variations of the tiramisu. In fact, some chefs have even used beer to create a dessert known as ‘birramisu’. These, of course, are all not considered to be a true Tiramisu. These are only variations of the traditional dessert, which have similarities to some of its characteristics.

Marsala wine is often added to the tiramisu recipe, though other liquors are also used. These include Madeira, dark rum, Irish cream, Malibu or brandy. However, coffee flavored liqueurs, such as Kahlua and Tia Maria are the most common.

Also read The curious history of the red velvet cake

How to make your own tiramisu at home?

While it may seem to be really daunting, you can actually easily make a tiramisu at home all by yourself. The most challenging part of a tiramisu is the savoiardi sponge. Luckily, these are readily available in the supermarket nowadays, by the name of ‘ladyfingers’. So grab a packet and you are ready to go.

Ingredients:

250 ml heavy whipping cream

250 gram mascarpone cheese

80 grams sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon brandy or any alcohol of your choice, optional

450 ml espresso

1 packet ladyfingers

Cocoa powder for dusting

Method:

  1. Beat the whipping cream along with the sugar and vanilla, till you get soft peaks.
  2. Soften the mascarpone cheese, and fold it in to the whipped cream. Also add your alcohol at this stage.
  3. Line an 8 inch square baking tin with some parchment paper. Dip the ladyfingers generously in the coffee, and then arrange them on the base. However, make sure that you don’t over soak them, since they will then fall apart!
  4. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture on top of this.
  5. Repeat the process with a second layer of ladyfingers and then the cream mixture.
  6. Using a sieve, dust some cocoa powder on the top. Refrigerate for a few hours before slicing and serving!

Also read Philly Cheese Steak Recipe

Playing around with the tiramisu

It is really easy to play around with the dessert, and create your own unique version of it. To begin with, you can use any liquor or liqueur that you want to, to add the flavor that you love the most. Grand Marnier or Amaretto works really well, but if you are feeling really experimental, go ahead and try anything from vodka to beer. Or if you want, you can even skip the coffee altogether, though your dessert won’t be a classic tiramisu any more in that case. Dip your ladyfingers in anything from orange juice to mixed berry juice, to create a different tiramisu inspired layered desserts. And if you cannot find ladyfingers, try swapping them with some other cake or cookie. Those the results will not be the same, the dessert will taste scrumptious nevertheless.

Not all classic desserts have to be tough. And you don’t always have to travel abroad or spend big bucks to enjoy a famous classic dessert. If you really are into desserts, and they are your one love, go ahead and give this gorgeous dessert a try! We bet that you will love it.

How did you dessert turn out? Let us know in the comment section below.