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Author Notes: I’ve been a tiramisu fan for quite some time, but I can’t say I’ve never met a tiramisu I didn’t like. My main complaint with tiramisu is that it is often overloaded with sugar. I have a sweet tooth (I promise), but sweetness is not the only component of a great dessert. This recipe was part of a challenge that required all of the components to be made from scratch. While that isn't necessary, it does give you a chance to play with the flavors of all or any of these parts. Tiramisu has only a few key ingredients (sugar, cream, coffee, wine), and each of those is as likely as the other to usurp complete control of the dessert if you let it. I love tiramisu’s traditional coffee and marsala flavors but I wanted to veer just a few degrees off. So I coated my ladyfingers with coffee and hazelnut liquor and I flavored the mascarpone with Rainwater Madeira, which if you’ve never tried, is a soft, semi-sweet aperitif that I find complements many kinds of desserts. The natural nuttiness in the Madeira coupled with the lush sweetness of the hazelnut liquor makes for a flavor-balanced pairing. If you wanted to make everything yourself (ladyfingers, mascarpone, etc.. you can look at the much longer version of this recipe on my site.) —NakedBeet
large egg yolks
tablespoons cane juice sugar
cup Rainwater Madeira wine
tiramisu, cream and assembly
cups mascarpone cheese
cups hot strong coffee or espresso
tablespoons hazelnut liquor
tablespoons cane juice sugar
cup light cream
tablespoon cane juice sugar
tablespoons cocoa powder
hazelnuts and chocolate shavings to decorate
- Zabaglione: Place a pot with about an inch of water in it (or use a double boiler) on the stove over medium low heat. Place your bowl over your pot and cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly for 8 minutes. Using a rubber spatula and moving the thickness of the mixture from the bottom and sides, you will notice that at the 5 minute mark it will instantly change texture, going from a thin liquid to a much thicker custard that is suddenly slightly smaller in quantity. At 7 minutes you can turn off the heat and stir for a few more strokes. Let this mixture cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
- Light whipped cream: Beat the light cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar until foamy and blended. Fold in the light cream into your mascarpone; the mixture should be smooth and light.
- In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cream filling with the chilled zabaglione, blending until just combined.
- Mix together the hot espresso with sugar and hazelnut liquor in a wide, shallow dish.
- Line an 8?x8? pan with saran wrap, getting the plastic squarely into the corners so your tiramisu can layer evenly. Saran lining makes it easier to take the tiramisu out and cut and serve individual servings. If you don’t care about serving them individually feel free to skip over this step.
- Working quickly, dip the ladyfingers one at a time into your warm coffee. Nota bene— The key here is to dip them long enough to get them moistened but not so long as to get them soaked where they start disintegrating. If the coffee is hot or warm, this shouldn’t take long. Depending on the thickness of your ladyfingers, you should start getting a feel for how long you need to soak yours. Soak the bottom layer for 3-4 seconds so that the mascarpone sticks to the fingers, but still take care to avoid disintegrating them. Soak the in-between layers for 1-3 seconds so they can retain a spongy instead of soggy texture in your assembled tiramisu. (If you’ve tasted a soggy tiramisu, you’ll be familiar with the taste of mush and alcohol, which is what we’re trying to avoid here.)
- Immediately start placing each ladyfinger side by side in a single row in your pan. You can also break a lady finger into pieces when necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered. Once your fingers are moistened, it will be easier to squeeze in 1 more than might fit if they were placed dry into the bottom layer.
- Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or frosting knife to spread the filling evenly, all the way to the edges.
- Repeat to create 2 more layers, ending with the mascarpone filling. In the 2nd and 3rd layers of ladyfingers, space them out further from one another. When you cut into a square piece, you’ll see lovely diagonal layers of mascarpone. That comes from spacing the fingers out, which also keeps the tiramisu from becoming ladyfinger heavy....unless you like that!
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight. If you assemble your tiramisu in the morning, it will be ready to serve the same evening (just let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving it so the flavors open up.) You can also freeze it to serve much later. I also find that cutting it when it's still slightly frozen produces cleaner cuts. Decorate with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, and hazelnuts.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Risotto (Savory)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Italian Dessert