Recipe of the Week: Tiramisù

Every Italian restaurant has it; of the ones that actually make it, precious few actually make it well. The Italian “pick me up” is actually pretty easy to make; cookies are dipped in coffee mixed with a healthy shot of amaretto, and for the cream, all you have to do is remember the formula:

Zabaglione + mascarpone + whipped cream = tiramisù cream

Incidentally, you'll find that savoiardi, which are available at fancy grocers, Italian markets and Wholesome Choice, come in packages of 40. This recipe makes enough of the cream so that you can enjoy a little of it spread on the 8 leftover savoiardi for immediate gratification.

The cookies

32 savoiardi (also called ladyfingers)
2 cups espresso (cold is fine, don't speed back from Starbucks)
2 Tbsp. amaretto
2 Tbsp. sugar

The zabaglione

8 large egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. Marsala wine

  1. Bring an inch of water to a bare simmer in a pan and fill a sink with several inches of cold water.
  2. In a heatproof (Pyrex™ or metal) bowl that fits over the pan without touching the water, whip the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture forms ribbons, about 3-4 minutes, then whip in the wine.
  3. Place the bowl over the water and whip until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the bowl in the water and whip the zabaglione until shiny and cool, about 3-4 minutes.

The cheese

500 g (NOT 1 lb.) mascarpone cheese

The whipped cream

1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  1. Whip the cream until frothy, then add the sugar and gelatin and whip to firm peaks.
  2. Heat the water and gelatin until the gelatin dissolves.
  3. Remove from the heat for 30 seconds, then whip the gelatin mixture into the cream.

The assembly

  1. Whip the cheese with a mixer until soft, then whip in the zabaglione.
  2. Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.
  3. Heat the coffee, then stir in the amaretto and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Float a savoiardo on the coffee for a quick count of three (this will not seem like enough, but any longer and the cookie will dissolve in your hands when you move it), flip it for three seconds, then immediately place it in the pan.
  5. Repeat for 15 other savoiardi (if you are using a 9″ x 9″ pan, it will fit exactly 16 savoiardi).
  6. Spread half of the cream mixture evenly across the pan.
  7. Dip and lay the other 16 savoiardi on top of the cream.
  8. Spread the remaining cream mixture evenly across the pan.
  9. Refrigerate, covered loosely, overnight or for up to two days (the longer you leave it, the cheesier it will taste).
  10. Dust with unsweetened cocoa powder before serving.

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