Tiramisu is a dessert I frequently desire yet rarely devour.
I find my craving for this dish, for the drunken soaked biscuits lounging amongst layers of whipped mascarpone, comes on strong (as the espresso should be) yet too fast to satisfy. Tiramisu is not a recipe that can be hastened. I find this dessert requires at least a few hours of fridge time so the flavours can settle and marry, to really get to know each other. And so, ever impatient my tiramisu cravings are, I often fall short in my preparation.
But not on this day.
Last month I insisted on scheduling a pizza day at my parents’ house. We were long overdue for a family Sunday lunch, where the only thing on our agenda involved cheese and dough. It was on this day I knew I would satisfy (at least for a short while) my tiramisu cravings that had been building up, as I keenly nominated myself to be in charge of dessert. But first, pizza…
I so love the process of rolling out dough. My pizzas are imperfect, terribly misshapen and with the occasional hole. I call it character. I learnt that from my dad.
I sent Dad, chief pizza maker and eager mise en place assembler, an email outlining which toppings I desired. This may sound bossy but my dad appreciates strict instruction when it comes to pizza preferences, and I am only too happy to oblige. Especially when we’re talking about caramelised red onion, anchovies and ricotta. And boy, did he come through with the goods.
These are the recipes I sent dad, which he merged and altered a little. The end results were fairly outrageous in the scrumptious stakes. My favourite was the broccoli and balsamic caramelised red onion pizza (see above). No, wait, the anchovy one…
All these toppings were sitting pretty on his homemade pizza dough. All were delicious. All were devoured.
For dessert, my favourite tiramisu.
Ben is quite skilled in the dessert department, so he lent a helpful (one) hand and together we assembled this mascarpone masterpiece the morning of our lunch.
This recipe is completely and selfishly suited to our own tiramisu inclinations. It requires a full bodied espresso bath (spiked) into which savoiardi biscuits are generous dunked (though not too eager as to encourage soggy biscuits) and a light (also spiked) cloud cover of mascarpone cream. There must be at least two layers of biscuits and cream and I wouldn’t be mad should you insist on three layers. You should also finish with dark chocolate shavings, freshly decorated to serve. On recipe reflection, I suppose I am kind of bossy…
Despite poor dessert planning in my every day, I’ve done a decent amount of tiramisu eating and assembling in my lifetime. This is how I like it best.
My Favourite Tiramisu
Serves 10, using a 20cm pie dish (a 20cm diameter and 6cm high pie dish is what I used, and it was perfectly full)
~30 Savoiardi Biscuits
500ml freshly brewed, strong Espresso Coffee
3 tablespoons Illy Coffee Liqueur
6 Egg Whites
2 heaped tablespoons Caster Sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala
Topping: dark chocolate, freshly shaved
1. Brew the coffee, then allow to cool. Place the cooled coffee in a wide bowl and add 2 tablespoons liqueur. Taste and add more liqueur if you desire. I always do.
2. While the coffee is cooling, assemble your cream. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form (using a mixer or hand whisk, I use a mixer for ease), then transfer to another clean bowl and set aside.
3. Place the mascarpone and sugar in the mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Drizzle in the marsala and beat again until smooth. Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time, then set this cream mixture aside. It’s time to assemble your tiramisu.
4. Dip the biscuits in the coffee mixture, allowing a generous dunk so that the coffee and liqueur seeps into the biscuits but not too generous that it falls apart. You can always drizzle more on later. Arrange the biscuits in a single layer in your desired dish (breaking some biscuits in half or thirds to fill in any gaps in the dish). Generously dollop the cream mixture on top, spreading it out evenly (be sure to save a little more than half for another layer). Dunk and assemble another layer of biscuits on top of the cream, then top those biscuits with the remaining cream. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least three hours (ideally five hours).
5. Shave dark chocolate over the tiramisu just before serving.