I learned 2 things while making this tiramisu, my first ever traditional tiramisu. First, truly authentic tiramisu calls for some ingredients that are a pain in the butt to find in small towns. Second, I suspect restaurants have been making inauthentic tiramisu for forever, because my tiramisu tasted spot on for what I have been eating in various restaurants my whole life. So someday I hope to feature another tiramisu on this blog, one made with marsala wine and proper lady fingers, etc. But for now let’s call this my Small Town Tiramisu.
I made this for that same supper club party as the Italian bread (which is why I did not have time to go to Jungle Jim’s and get marsala wine, Italian ladyfingers, etc). I got a lot of compliments for the fact that the tiramisu was not soggy–the ladyfingers I found were pathetically soft (a true Italian ladyfinger should be quite crisp), so I only brushed the espresso syrup onto them, instead of dipping the entire ladyfinger. In *my* ideal world, I would increase (maybe 1.5X) the mascarpone part of the recipe, because I like a cream heavy tiramisu. But this is personal preference-the recipe as it is written below does not include extra of the mascarpone-cream layer.
One note about the photos: the tiramisu seems to have 3 layers because it was unclear whether the dumb ladyfingers I bought needed to have 2 cookies to form 1 ladyfinger (just trust me). I decided after it should have been 1, not 2. In creating this recipe, I worked from a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis and another recipe from Gourmet.
- ½ cup kahlua
- ½ cup hot water
- 3 T espresso powder
- 2 T sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 4 T sugar
- 2 T sherry
- 1 lb mascarpone, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped
- ladyfingers-how many depends on size of the ladyfinger, they will need to cover 2 layers of a 9 X 13 pan (I used around 36)
- unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- Bring the Kahlua, water and espresso powder to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Prepare the whipped cream–do not overwhip, you want it softly whipped. Set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks, sherry and sugar in a double boiler or heat safe bowl over barely simmering water. Beat until pale and tripled in volume, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly beat in the mascarpone, a dollop at a time. Once the mascarpone is incorporated, fold the whipped cream in until they are combined completely.
- If you are using crisp ladyfingers, dip each one completely in the Kahlua mixture, shake it off gently, and place it in the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish. If your ladyfingers are soft, as mine were, lay the ladyfingers out in the pan until the entire layer is covered. Brush the Kahlua mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Repeat, ending with the rest of the mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder before serving.