From affogato all the way to gelato, there are many popular Italian treats that tempt the palette, but few desserts are more iconic than the espresso-infused Tiramisu. While most people have enjoyed this decadent treat in a restaurant – or in the country of origin with a little luck – it is not as complicated to make as it might seem. With a little background and a few simple ingredients, here’s how this dessert came to be and how you can make your very own version of this old favorite.
The Tradition of Tiramisu
There are many contradictory accounts of how the popular dessert Tiramisu came to be. While one account claims that it was given to soldiers during World War I to provide them with energy as they went off to war, the most common belief is that it was invented in the restaurant Le Beccherie around 1971. It is said that the popular dessert, whose name means “pick me up”, was created by the restaurant owner, Roberto Linguanotto, and his assistant Francesca Valori, whose maiden name happened to be Tiramisu. The mystery around the creation of Tiramisu persists, but it’s worth noting that no mention of the popular dessert appeared in print before the 1980s.
How to Make Italy’s Most Popular Dessert
With layers of mascarpone and espresso, Tiramisu is a rich but airy dessert that delights the senses with its delicacy. It is the Ladyfinger biscuits that are soaked in espresso that give the dessert its unique texture and hard-to-define taste. When planning a party with an Italian theme, this simple recipe should provide approximately 8-10 servings and will take about 30 minutes to prepare.
2 Cups Hot water
3 TBSP Espresso powder
1 TBSP Sugar
3 TBSP Tia Maria liqueur
4 Egg yolks
1/3 Cup Marsala wine
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Mascarpone cheese
1 Cup Heavy cream
36 Ladyfinger biscuits
Unsweetened cocoa powder
In a shallow, wide bowl stir together the water, espresso powder, 1 TBSP sugar and the Tia Maria liqueur, and then place in the fridge to cool.
Once this is complete, combine the egg yolks, Marsala wine and ½ cup sugar in a double boiler or saucepan over boiling water. Beat the mixture until it has increased in volume (approximately 5-8 minutes). Remove from the heat and beat in the Mascarpone cheese.
Beat the heavy cream in a large bowl until peaks form and fold in the mascarpone mixture until combined.
Dip each Ladyfinger biscuit into the coffee mixture until they are all coated, and then begin creating your layered dessert by placing 1 layer of biscuits into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. Once you have created your first layer, top with the mascarpone mixture. The ingredients should make approximately 3 layers of biscuits and mascarpone, but continue until all the ingredients are used up.
Dust the top of the layered Tiramisu with cocoa and cool it in the fridge for at least 6 hours and remove from the fridge approximately 30 minutes before serving.