Did you know that I am full-blooded Italian? Cause I am! All of my family on both of my parents' sides is full Italian, and I can speak it fluently. But, the best part? All the delicious food my mom cooks! Not to mention the desserts... ohhh, goodness. So, it seems like my duty as a food blogger to show all of you how to make Italian Tiramisu! Real Italian tiramisu, not the stuff you get in certain restaurants, which is basically whipped cream and dry ladyfingers... blech!
Rule number one of making a real Italian tiramisu: you're basically making a trifle, or a parfait. You don't really want different textures, you want everything to be soft and creamy and delicious! Ladyfingers that aren't completely soaked in coffee are a total no-no. Rule number two: use real mascarpone cheese, and only mascarpone! Some recipes use half cream cheese/half mascarpone, or only cream cheese. Nooo! Mascarpone cheese is so good, and it makes a world of difference in the ending product. It's sweeter and less tangy than cream cheese, and a lot creamier and smoother too. Usually, my mom and I make a big rectangular casserole dish of tiramisu, but we thought that individual servings would be cute! Personally, I love that you can see all the layers through the glass cups... my only criticism was that this was still a very generous serving. We all ate half and saved the other half for the next day. For parties, etc, I would suggest using small drinking cups, or even shot glasses, like they do at lots of restaurants nowadays. It would be so cute! Anyways, here is how a real Italian makes tiramisu... :)
Yields: 6 generous servings
about 2 dozen crisp ladyfinger cookies
8 oz. (1 small container) mascarpone cheese
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups strong coffee, black, with very little sugar, AT ROOM TEMP!
scant 1/2 cup (150 gr) white sugar
2 tbsp Marsala or Rum
8 oz. heavy cream
1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
Gather 6 clear glass cups. (Mine were drinking cups, so they can probably hold 1 1/2 cups of water?) Make one layer at the bottom of each with the ladyfingers, using a knife to cut them to fit. Using a spoon, soak the ladyfingers with the coffee (make sure it's at room temperature or just warm, NOT HOT), making sure to get them all very wet! You don't want any dry spots. (I usually turn the cup around and look at it from different angles to see if I can see any dry spots, and if I do, I add more coffee to those areas). Set the cups aside for now.
In a medium bowl, add in the egg yolks and sugar, and beat (by hand) with a wire whisk until they start to turn light and creamy. Add in your alcohol of choice, and keep beating until lighter in color and creamy, then beat in the mascarpone cheese, mixing until there are no more lumps.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream to medium-soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, mixing gently until well-combined. (If you're concerned about the uncooked egg yolks, don't be! The alcohol sterilizes/cooks the eggs, so they're safe to eat). Grab your glass cups again, and using a soup spoon, drop a heaping spoonful on top of the soaked ladyfingers, using the back of the spoon to smooth out the layer. Lightly dust the top of the cream with cocoa powder, then make another layer of ladyfingers, soak them, and make another layer of cream, again, smoothing it out. Top with more cocoa powder and, if desired, some shaved chocolate.
Let the parfaits rest in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, but optimally, overnight. The longer they sit, the better the flavors meld together, so the better they taste.
Now, a side note. Do not try the cream once you've mixed the mascarpone mix and the whipped cream together... that stuff is dangerously delicious! But, jokes aside, it's really, really good. If I was given a choice between eating tiramisu or just the mascarpone whipped cream... there is a pretty good chance I would pick the whipped cream. Yum.