21 May

First of all, what in the world is it? When I told a few people that I’d made tiramisu this past week, lots of them weren’t sure what it was. The truth is, I had no idea until a couple of years ago, and I had only had it once before I decided to try making it. I went over to a friend’s house for dinner and afterwards she wanted to go to her favorite Italian restaurant for dessert. She said they had the best tiramisu in the world. I had no idea what it was, but I figured if it was the best in the world it might be worth trying. 🙂 It is a layered dessert and apparently the name actually means “pick me up.” It is made with layers of ladyfingers dipped in an expresso mixture and a cream layer, with chocolate added on top. I had forgotten all about this dessert until I saw Anne Burrell feature it on her Food Network show. She is one of my favorite hosts, so I decided I would go with her recipe. You can find it on foodnetwork.com if you’d like. I think I could spend hours looking at all the mouth-watering recipes and photos on their page.

The first thing I had to do was round up a few ingredients. I don’t drink coffee or eat ladyfingers, and those are the two stars of the show so I had to get some of those. I’d also never cooked with marscapone cheese before, so I was excited to try it. The other ingredients are some of the usual suspects for desserts: eggs, sugar, chocolate chips, brown sugar and cocoa powder. Most of those things can be found in my pantry on any given day 😉

Making the cream mixture is actually just a bit complicated. The eggs and sugar have to be mixed together, and then cooked enough so that the eggs aren’t raw. But you don’t want to scramble the eggs, so you have to use a double boiler so that they don’t get too hot, too fast. Believe it or not, this is what it will look like after being cooked over the very low heat and then mixed for another 5 minutes. I didn’t know just eggs and sugar could turn into this kind of a pudding-like texture. I guess I still have a lot to learn. 🙂

Then the marscapone cheese and chocolate chips get mixed in, and it must be refrigerated for one hour. The marscapone cheese is a little like cream cheese, but has a more creamy texture and the flavor is more mild.

When the cream mixture has chilled for an hour, it’s time to make the dipping mixture for the ladyfingers. When I looked at several tiramisu recipes, I realized that there are lots of variations as to what all goes in this mixture. I stuck with Anne Burrell’s, but I changed her ratios just a little. I do like a little coffee flavor in some desserts, but since I’m not really a coffee drinker I added a little less expresso powder and a little more cocoa powder. 😉 Besides the expresso and cocoa, the mixture also consists of some water, brown sugar, and chocolate flavored coffee creamer. When adding the water it needs to be boiling water so that the expresso powder will dissolve. But then once it’s all been stirred together and dissolved, it needs to cool back down to room temperature before being used for the layering.

Once the expresso mixture is cooled, the only work left to be done is layering. So from here on out it’s basically like making a trifle. Each ladyfinger is dipped into the mixture, then placed into the pan to start the bottom layer.

On top of each ladyfinger layer goes a layer of the cream mixture. There are 3 layers in all.

Once all three layers are put together, it must be covered and chilled overnight. Then it can be sliced, and a little chocolate can be grated on top. It makes it look all pretty and what not. 🙂

Overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out. And I was proud to be able to say that I’d made a fancy Italian dessert. 🙂

Next Up: Something with a southwestern feel. Can you guess what it is?

Random Thought of the Day: By this time next weekend I’ll be in Georgia visiting with my granny, parents, sisters, brother in laws, and my niece. Can’t wait! 🙂


One Response to “Tiramisu”

  1. Jessica Llanes May 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Hmmm, southwestern dessert? I’m drawing a blank!

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