Tiramisu is one of those desserts that everybody seems to like. Tiramisu is a layered dessert, made from ladyfingers, drizzled with coffee, egg custard (zabaglione) and cocoa. There are a lot of variations out there. This happens to be one I like.

We made tiramisu in an Italian cooking class the other night. Not surprising, everyone loved it. I think the magic of tiramisu is how it can be rich and light at the same time. For me, that starts with the creamy layer. The egg custard is made first, then chilled. Later it is combined with mascarpone and whipped cream. The end result is bliss.

Tiramisu is not hard to make. The custard requires a little work, but the rest is just about assembly. It might be a lot more work if you bake your own ladyfinger cookies. I just buy them.

I prefer to use the larger, crisp ladyfinger cookies. I find them at Italian grocery stores. Other  grocery stores sell ladyfingers that are soft, like sponge cake. I have used them in a pinch, but they are not my favorite. I think they get too soft after the coffee is added.

In the end, no matter which cookies you use- the flavor of your tiramisu is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


Classic Tiramisu

5 egg yolks
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. Marsala wine (not cooking wine)
1 c. whipping cream
2 T. sugar
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
2 c. strong coffee, room temp.
2 T. sugar
1/2 c. brandy
1 T. vanilla
48 ladyfingers
3 T. cocoa

Make zabaglione (egg custard). In double boiler, over simmering water, beat together egg yolks and sugar until lemon colored. Stir in Marsala and continue cooking, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and will mound on a spoon. This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool down. You can place in bowl in fridge 30 minutes or so. Beat together whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat in mascarpone and chilled zabaglione. Chill 1 hour. Stir together coffee with remaining sugar, brandy and vanilla and set aside. Assemble tiramisu by placing 16 of the ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Drizzle about 1/3 of the coffee mixture over the ladyfingers, about 1 tablespoon each. Top with 1/3 of the cream mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the cocoa. Repeat this process 2 more times until all ingredients are used. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 12.

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