This past weekend, I offered to make Our Number One Fan (aka Jill) risotto for dinner. Jill was visiting from Nebraska, and it has been many moons since we made dinner together. So for dessert, continuing with the Italian theme, I opted to make tiramisu. And I must admit, I would never have thought to make tiramisu if not for the suggestion from another friend and dinner party attendee. Once the idea of tiramisu was planted in my brain, I could think of nothing else. But wait . . . I had never actually MADE tiramisu. I have eaten plenty of it, given that I live in a predominantly Italian neighborhood, and need only walk down the street to one of my favorite places on earth (Caffe Vittoria) to consume heavenly tiramisu. So, you see, I have never really needed to make it. But I relish a challenge. And let me tell you - tiramisu is rather easy to make. Honestly, one of the less complex baking projects I have tackled. And the results . . . delicious! Creamy, just sweet enough. Utterly perfect. Now I am trying to come up with excuses to make it again!
As a note - I used a recipe from Gourmet (January 2009) as a starting point, but adapted it very liberally. The Gourmet recipe uses Tia Maria (or any coffee flavored liquer) in the espresso soak and adds Marsala to the zabaglione. Feel free to do your own experimenting!
2 cups freshly brewed espresso
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
Mix espresso with 1 tbsp sugar.
Beat egg yolks remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.
Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.
Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.
Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13- by 9- by 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan.
Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cocoa. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Let tiramisu stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving, then dust with more cocoa.