Tiramisu Recipe: No Cookin’, Just Chillin’

There are several versions which tell the history of Tiramisu and this makes it hard to trace the real roots of this delicious dessert.

I think we should eat it and enjoy it but being Italy a country with a very rich culinary regional tradition, the question on the creator of Tiramisu has started a real dispute, mainly amongst the region of Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto.

The official version however makes Tuscany the birthplace of the world loved Tiramisu.

The official story tells that Tiramisu was invented in the 17th century in Siena to celebrate the visit of Grand-duke of Tuscany, Cosimo de Medici (the Medici family is one of the most important family in the history of Tuscany). The chefs wanted the dessert to reflect the Grand-duke personality. So it needed to be important, with an outstanding taste; rich and creamy as the Grand-Duke loved desserts and sweet food in general. It also needed to be made with local ingredients! This is how the Tiramisu recipe was worked out. The result, we all know is absolutely outstanding.

The original name of the dessert was “Zuppa del Duca” which means “Duke’s Trifle”. The Grand-Duke loved the dessert so much that he took the recipe with him to Florence. This had a tremendous success amongst the Italian aristocracy. The word that went round the aristocracy’s milieu bestowed aphrodisiac power to the trifle and this is how the name Tiramisu was coined. Tiramisu literally means “lift me up”.

After a bit of historical background, here is the recipe:

Preparation Time: 25 minutes plus a few hours in the fridge to chill.
Cooking Time: None

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings
2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
300gr / 10.5 oz. mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1 x tbsp of sugar
2 to 3 drops of vanilla extract or the contents of a vanilla pod
Zest of an orange
100ml / 3.5 oz. of cold strong black coffee (good quality like espresso)
80ml / 2.7 fl. oz. Vin Santo – Italian dessert wine (or Marsala wine is also good)
About 12 savoiardi (Italian Sponge finger biscuits)
Sifted cocoa powder and some grated dark chocolate which contains 70% cocoa solids to decorate.

1. Whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they reach stiff peaks and set them aside.
2. Add the Vin Santo to the coffee in a bowl and set aside.
3. Mix the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in a separate large bowl and whisk with the electric mixer until evenly combined.
4. Fold the egg whites bit by bit into the mascarpone mix, adding half of the orange zest also. To do this use a metal spoon, the clean thin edge of the metal makes it easier to work everything together. The important thing is not to lose too much of the air in the egg whites that you have whisked in.
5. Put a little of the cream mix in the bottom of your serving dish.
6. Dip the biscuits in the coffee and wine mix, making sure that they take up the mixture but that they do not disintegrate. They will take up the liquid very quickly and easily as they are quite dry.
7. Lay the biscuits out over the cream mixture in your serving bowl.
8. Repeat until the mix is finished or your bowl if full. The last layer should be cream.
9. Dust with cocoa powder, rest of the orange zest and grated or shaved dark chocolate.
10. Cover the dessert and put it in the fridge. It needs some time, preferably overnight, but 5 to 6 hours is mostly good enough.

Tips and Variations
• Try using Marsala wine or coffee liquer instead of Vin Santo. For something stronger you can go for Amaretto.
• This is a classic Italian dessert. It translates as “Pick me Up”, I’m not going to argue with that! It is actually based on the English trifle. Not often that English cuisine is celebrated by other cultures in this way, although, I am sure that the Italians would say their version is better.
• You can also try a version with half mascarpone and half whipped cream.
• Make as one large tiramisu on as individual portions in glasses.
• Don’t keep this dessert for too long, I tend to use it no later than the next day. The reason being is the use of raw eggs. Although it tastes so good I am sure you will have no worries in this area!

If you enjoyed this recipe and are looking for more, or would like photos check out my blog: http://www.thecookingcoach.eu/?p=3183

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