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Tiramisu: Italian Dessert Perfection

Tiramisu is one of those deserts that has always intimidated me, kind of like Baked Alaska. I don’t really know why. I didn’t even know what was in it (besides the obvious ingredients) or how it was made. I had only had it in restaurants and although it has always been good, it has never been great. Since we’re Southerners and Italian is obviously our absolute favorite type of food (besides our traditional Southern comfort foods) , I decided today I had to learn to make a killer Tiramisu. After researching many recipes, it seemed like an impossible task. However, after reading through the instructions of several  recipes, I was finally able to decipher how to make tiramisu. So it’s as simple as this. Get three mixing bowls and a hand mixer. Then you’ll beat until light and fluffy three mixtures: egg whites, egg yolks and Mascarpone cheese and heavy cream with a few other ingredients. The you fold all these mixtures together and layer it with espresso soaked lady fingers. It’s too easy. There’s no cooking or baking involved.

At my grocery store, I did have problems finding both the Mascarpone cheese and lady fingers. I found the Mascarpone cheese with the fancy cheeses, and the lady fingers in the Hispanic section, not with the other Italian baked goods. The Mascarpone I used was also flavored with espresso.

This recipe does contain raw eggs, so be sure to use farm fresh, farmer’s market, or high quality eggs from another trusted source. If raw eggs aren’t your thing, check out this egg-less tiramisu recipe here. To learn more about egg safety, read this article at Politics of the Plate.

This recipe also has liqueurs, which can be left out if you don’t use alcohol in your cooking.

Tiramisu Recipe

Ingredients

1 package lady fingers (about 36)
3 eggs, separated
1 cup heavy cream
1 – 8 oz package Mascarpone cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 teaspoons sugar
1 cup espresso or very strong coffee
2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur
3 tablespoons Kaluha Liqueur
1/4 cup grated bittersweet chocolate

Method

1. Brew coffee and add to a small shallow bowl that’s big enough to dunk the lady fingers. Add Liqueurs to coffee.

2. Get three large mixing bowls. In one bowl, add egg whites. In another bowl, add egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar. In the last bowl, add heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons sugar.

3. Beat egg whites until they have soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until glossy. Clean beaters. Beat egg yolks and sugar until light in color. Add Mascarpone cheese to egg yolks, beat until well-incorporated and fluffy.

4. Clean beaters and beat cream until it is thick. Then fold cream into the bowl with the egg yolk and Mascarpone cheese mixture. Then fold in egg whites. Very gently incorporate, trying to keep the mixture as light and fluffy as possible.

5. Dip lady fingers in coffee for 3-4 minutes on each side. Then layer lady fingers, filling and grated chocolate in a trifle bowl, a 8 x 8 casserole, or any other 2 quart or more container.

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