July 15, 2007


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I saw on the Food Network a chef, can't remember his name, making an unrecognizable tiramisu, this Italian dessert that has been around for over 20 years. Recently I sampled a similar awful tiramisu, they both had a very rich chocolate cake instead of lady fingers, chocolate ganache, and no mascarpone cheese. The one I tasted did not have a hint of coffee flavor.

Last Wednesday the Washington Post Food section had a 3 pages long but entertaining article about the dessert and the Italian man who claims he invented it. You can read the article and his recipe here. I have always made tiramisu with brandy and after reading the article I added marsala and I like it very much. I have loved this dessert, either store bought or homemade, both the rich and the lighter recipes.

The recipe below is a lighter version of TIRAMISU, adapted from my cookbook THE ESSENTIAL DESSERT COOKBOOOK

3 tablespoons custard powder
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons sugar
8 oz mascarpone cheese (or crème fraîche and mascarpone)
2 egg whites (powdered)
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups strong espresso coffee, chilled
4 tablespoons Marsala wine
ladyfinger cookies
1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • Stir the custard powder in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the skim milk until dissolved. Add the remaining milk with 2 tablespoons sugar and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool at room temperature.
  • Beat together the cooled custard and mascarpone for 2 minutes. Cover and cool in the refrigerator while preparing the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat for 1 minute. Fold egg whites into the custard. Set aside.
  • Pour coffee into a dish, stir in the wine. Using half of the lady fingers, quickly dip each cookie in the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer on a serving dish.
  • Using half of the custard mixture, smooth it evenly over the cookies. Repeat layers of dipped ladyfingers and custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Lightly dust top of cake with cocoa powder before serving.


christine said...

I've always known the tiramisu in our home to be made with rum (my sister used to make the best tiramisu in my opinion! unfortunately she's lost her recipe). I've been wanting to make this for a while now, in fact a previous attempt left me frustrated cos I couldn't find mascarpone and ended up using cream with cream cheese. Thanks for the recipe, I'll give this one a try. I read somewhere that marsala wine is the best for tiramisu.

Oggi said...

Marsala made a big difference in the taste of the tiramisu.
If you can't find mascarpone, you can either mix creme fraiche with well beaten heavy cream or you can make mascarpone at home. Here is the site for making

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