Sunday, December 18, 2011

Taste testing our way through Italy

Last spring as we made our way through Italy, Ben made it his mission to taste the tiramisu in every city (and restaurant) that we visited.  He claimed he was on a search for the "best" tiramisu - really it was all about the sampling.  We had a lot of really good tiramisu but it was served differently than it is served in most restaurants in the United States.  A couple of times, we were served small cups of the creamy custard with ladyfingers lining the edge of the cup.  I don't remember if we ever determined a winner of the tiramisu taste test - it was all pretty delicious.

This week, I made my version of tiramisu.  I decided to make a more traditional (American) version of this irresistible dessert because it's easier to store than the Italian version.  There are a lot of tiramisu recipes that contain raw eggs but I prefer to use a recipe that does not contain raw eggs.  (I don't like to serve anything that could potentially contain bacteria that could cause illness.) 

2 1/2 cups strong coffee                            1 1/2 Tablespoons instant expresso
9 Tablespoons grand marnier                  6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar                                               1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds Marscapone                         3/4 cup heavy cream
42-60 ladyfingers, dried                            3 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
1/4 bittersweet chocolate                           1/3 cup cream

 In mixer, whip 3/4 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Stir together coffee and 5 T. ground marnier.

In mixer combine egg yolks, sugar, salt and 1/3 c. cream.

Set over simmering water and cook until mixture coats rubber spatula.  (4-7 minutes)


Remove from heat, stir in 4 T. grand marnier and marscapone and beat 1 minute with whisk attachment.

Fold in whipped cream.

Dip each ladyfinger into coffee mixture for 2 seconds.

Dried ladyfingers work much better than the fresh varieties.  I buy mine at World Market.

Layer into bottom of a 9x13 pan.  (I used 4 smaller pyrex dishes because freezer space is at a premium this time of year and these fit better into my freezer.)

Spread 1/2 of cheese mixture on top.  Sprinkle with cocoa.


Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.  (Mine went straight into the freezer until Christmas.)

I love tiramisu and there is nothing like eating the creamy, sweet dessert while sitting at an outdoor cafe in Florence but I think this might just be the next best thing.  I have a lot more cooking to do before Christmas but this is one dessert that is already crossed off my "to do" list.  Delicious foods that I can make ahead and freeze are a lifesaver.

Bon Appetit!

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