While filming episodes for my Rockefeller Fellowship in Tuscany called “Images of Italy”, I thought it would be fun to film the classic dessert that is one of the best known here in the States as well. So my crew and I took a chance and randomly entered a small trattoria in Florence named “Paoli” and introduced myself and explained my mission to film things of interest for my students. The staff, chef and owner were eager to accommodate me, and it was, in fact, the owner, Francesca, who was actually in the middle of making the dessert of the day: Tiramisù. The first thing I must stress is that REAL tiramisù is made with mascarpone cheese and NOT cream cheese, as many here seem to use to cut corners. It is also important that certain parts of the recipe be prepared before others. So let’s get to Firenze and get it from the horse’s mouth:
Prep time should take about ½ hour.
Servings: about 6-8 depending on the size of the glass dish
- 2 cups of strong espresso coffee chilled
- 2 cups mascarpone cheese
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup fine granulated sugar
- 24 ladyfingers
- 2 tablespoons chocolate shavings
- 2 cups of sifted cocoa for dusting
- 1 glass baking dish about 3-4” deep
- Make espresso coffee first and let it cool or put on fridge to get cold once it’s cooled.
- In a thick bowl mix the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar and mix well. It should be a pourable mixture now. If not, add small amounts of cream, very little at a time so it is.
- Pour enough of the above mixture in the glass dish so that the bottom is covered.
- Once the coffee is cold, take it out and soak each ladyfinger in it and set them flat in the dish next to each other.
- Pour the mascarpone mixture over the lady fingers and use a rubber spatula to smooth it over.
- Repeat with another layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and cover them in the same way with the mascarpone mixture so that the mascarpone is on top before putting the cocoa.
- Dust the entire top of the last layer with sifted cocoa so that the cream is completely covered.
- Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the cocoa.
- Refrigerate for a few hours before you plan to serve the dessert.
- Cut into squares when well chilled and serve.
See you on Thursday with ANOTHER great Italian dessert…why not?!
You’ll be ready for the holidays! I’d love your comments!