Monday, April 18, 2011


Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Tirami-sú means "pick me up", a dessert that will surely pick you up when you are feeling sad, tired or just in a bad mood. My first taste of tiramisú was way back in 1999 when my Italian colleague Drew and his wife Jen invited a few of us to their home for dinner. She made it with ladyfingers she bought from the grocery store and it was too good I had to try out a version on the next Filipino party we used to have every Sunday after mass. I went on the internet and found a random recipe and well, it came out terrible. I got rum-happy and added way too much it tasted too bitter to be edible. I had to chuck the whole tray. It will take another year before I will have the chance to purchase Sophia Loren's cookbook on a trip to Miami with my friends and on my first try of her recipe, my tiramisú came out great. At that time, I was using store-bought ladyfingers as well as cream cheese, not mascarpone. It will take me another two to three years before I finally synthesized a perfect version of tiramisu, this time with freshly baked ladyfingers and with mascarpone. This recipe is actually from Sophia Loren's secretary and is a simplified version of the dessert. I have to say I've made some pretty complicated versions of this cake before and I always come back to this one. The simplicity is one reason why I love making this version and the other is that in terms of flavor, it is equally good if not better.

The recipe for the ladyfingers was a recipe I found online. It has been my go-to recipe for anything with ladyfingers and it never fails to impress. I have made some changes to it by adding a tsp of vanilla per batch and I lower the baking temperature to 375°C and bake them for about 8-10 minutes. I make sure that when they come out of the oven, the tops are light golden brown and they spring back when you lightly tap them. If this is too much work for you though, a good store-bought pack of ladyfingers will certainly do as well. If you are feeling adventurous, double the recipe to fill a 9x13 glass baking dish. Double the recipe given below as well except for the liqueur. I actually halve the required amount of liqueur and coffee as I want my tiramisú to be more cake-like and not too soggy. So for double the recipe, I only use half a cup of both the liqueur and the espresso. This is to taste so if you want to add more, go for it. 

Also, the mascarpone cheese comes in 8 and 16 oz tubs. I use all 16oz for my mascarpone mixture and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly. Also, a word of advice to those who are not into baking regularly. When you make the mascarpone mixture, beat the egg whites first before beating the egg yolks with the sugar. The residual egg whites on your mixer paddles do not affect the egg yolks but vice versa, it is a disaster. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
*Tiramisú -adapted

3 eggs separated
5 tbsp sugar
6 oz mascarpone cheese
1 cup orange liqueur ( I    actually prefer Kahlua,    a coffee liqueur) 
1 cup espresso coffee
2 oz bitter chocolate, grated
unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl and beat them     well until it doubles in size.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. 
3. Combine the mascarpone with the egg yolk mixture then fold in the beaten     egg whites.
4. Spoon a  thin layer of the mascarpone mixture and arrange a layer of the     ladyfinger on top of it. 
5. Using a spoon, drizzle about half of the liqueur and espresso over the  
    ladyfinger. Cover the ladyfinger with the mascarpone mixture and grate     half of the chocolate and a dusting of an even layer of cocoa powder. 
6. Lay another layer of the ladyfinger on top of the first layer and repeat the
    same process except for the dusting ofcocoa powder. Cover with a plastic     wrap and store in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
7. When ready to serve, slice a piece of the cake and garnish with a generous     dusting of cocoa powder. 
8. Serve with fresh berries when they are in season and a steaming hot mug     of coffee or tea.

*Loren, Sophia. Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories. GT Publishing Corp. New York:1998


  1. ... this would be perfect on a hot summer day... :-)

  2. A lot of people seem to be real down on tiramisu these days, saying that it is an out of date dessert from the '80s. I saw screw
    em! I LOVE tiramisu and seeing this blog post made me really have a hankering for some. I've never made it myself, but will have to give it a shot for my next gathering. It looks super easy to make. I've never made lady fingers... is it a time consuming process?


  3. Laurie, yeah, I read some time ago that tiramisu is indeed one of the most outdated desserts but just like you, a dessert is only outdated when nobody asks for it anymore. You can totally make the ladyfingers. You bake a lot too so I'm sure it won't be too much of a challenge for you. I can rock this cake in two to three hours so not a lot of work. Let me know if you have more questions. - Dan