Friday, June 29, 2012

Tiramisu - The Authentic Italian Dessert

Tiramisu is the authentic Italian dessert.  Tiramisu means "pick-me-up", that mainly refers to the contents of the strong coffee into it. In here coffee is induced at two stages, in the zabaglione and in the ladyfingers. And this is very true that the strong flavor of coffee makes the dessert more special. Tiramisu can be made with/without alcohol and I prefer the non alcoholic version.

Tiramisu is the dessert that is alternately layered with the coffee soaked ladyfingers and egg custard cream, which is often topped off with cocoa powder. The egg custard cream is the blend of zabaglione cream, vanilla pastry cream, whipping cream and mascarpone cheese. For the veggie lovers, you all can skip the zabaglione cream and vanilla pastry cream and replace it by the simple custard cream (using milk and vanilla custard powder).
Though the dessert needs lots of preparation, it is not at all complicated if you do it by plans and lots of patience.
I chose to make everything by my own starting from Ladyfingers to Mascarpone cheese. Tiramisu can be decorated as you please .


For the Mascarpone cheese
  • Heavy cream - 474ml (approx. 500ml)
  • Fresh lemon juice  - 1 tbsp

 For The LadyFingers/
  •  Eggs, separated - 3
  •  Granulated sugar - 6 tablespoons
  • Cake flour, sifted  - 3/4 cup(or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
  •  Confectioner's sugar - 6 tablespoons

For the Zabaglione:
  • Egg yolks - 2 large
  •  Sugar - 3 tbsp
  • Marsala wine (or port or coffee) - 1/4 cup ( I used brewed coffee here)
  • Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp
  • Grated lemon zest - 1/2 tsp

For the Vanilla pastry cream:
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup
  •  All purpose flour - 1 tbsp
  •  Grated lemon zest - 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
  • Egg yolk - 1 large
  • Whole milk -3/4 cup

For the Whipped cream:
  • Chilled heavy cream - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

To Assemble the Tiramisu:
  •  Brewed espresso, warmed - 2 cups
  •  Rum extract (optional) - 1 tsp ( I did not used)
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Mascarpone cheese - 1/3 cup
  • Ladyfinger biscuits / savoiardi - 36 (you may use less)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder - 2  tbsp


For making Mascarpone cheese
  • Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. 
  • Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
    It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. 
  • Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. 
  • All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker . It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
    Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days. 

For making Ladyfingers / Savoiardi Biscuits 
  • Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
  • Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips.
  • Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
  • Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
  • Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
  • Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
  • Store them in an airtight container till required. They can be  kept for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Makes about 24 to 25 (5 inch long) big size ladyfingers  or 45 (2 1/2 inch long) small size ladyfingers.

For Making  the Zabaglione
  • Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
  • In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the marsala wine (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
  • Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For Making the Pastry cream
  • Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
  • Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  • Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
  • Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For Making the Whipped cream
  • Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. 
  • Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
To Assemble the Tiramisu 
  • Have ready a  serving dish (about 8" by 8"  circular shape) or one of your choice.
  • Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract (I did not used) and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
  • Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
  • Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
  • Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
  • Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
  • To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please.

  • Cut into individual portions and serve as you can see in the above image.

  • Or you can also make single serving bowl of Tiramisu.....Isn't it looking cute...


  1. OMG... it looks awesome.... Wish to grab it.... I love Tiramisu tooo...

  2. wow!! looks amazing!! itz just crave me!!!

  3. you did the whole thing from scratch.. omg... completely drool worthy...

  4. What a lovely Tiramisu! Beautifully presented! :)

  5. tiramisu is my fav.. you made it very nicely. beautiful decoration

  6. This is wonderfully presented, no doubt must have tasted yum

  7. You seem to be a 'dessert queen' !

  8. have taken lot of efforts to make this.. Happy to see your outcome...that was perfect...

  9. You have super prefectly..incredible tiramisu.

  10. Very delicious yummy tiramisu..mouthwatering here!!

    Ongoing Events at(Erivum Puliyum)-
    1. The Kerala Kitchen(June'12)

    2.EP Series-Basil OR Cardamom

  11. OMG pranjali, its just so perfect, looks absolutely amazing cant stop looking at it. Beautiful presentation. you made everything from scratch which is great. Keep up the great work girl :)

  12. I love tiramisu! Yours looks absolutely delicious!

  13. Good One !