Getting Messy with Tiramisu.
Well, as promised I come bearing gifts and snippets of food-related experience!
So this weekend was dedicated to having a bit of much needed R n R, and I reference, in a cheesy fashion, Rock and Roll. Blah blah blah a very fun and messy cocktail party ensued, with lots of yummy concoctions and home made treats.
I was in two minds as to what I should make for said party, a cake would have been too small, and I thought it a little too cliche and unsophisticated to make brownies for a house-party. So I went with the next natural choice, Tiramisu! I say natural choice, the thing I was craving most. What can I say, i’m selfishly indulgent! I don’t really feel you can truly understand a dish until you know at least the basics of where it came from, much like you can’t make a modern twist unless you understand the original recipe. So in a bid to understand the ancestry of the humble Tiramisu, I was expecting to go back hundreds of years. Not quite what I found, but interesting nonetheless.
First of all, being entirely word of mouth you can’t trust sources, because people are selfish, and will take credit for things that doesn’t belong to them, case and point, Alexander Graham Bell. But according to most of the rumours and whispers amongst the food community, this dessert was formed in the 70’s or 80’s by a tiny bakery called Le Beccherie. Now, it seems logical, the next step. The region in which it was invented, and I say invented with all meanings of the word, because this is definitely not a classical Italian recipe, was in Treviso, just outside of Venice, where all of the ingredients found in Tiramisu (Or Tiramesu in Venetian dialect) are very prominent in that region alone, marscapone, strong coffee, marsala wine (!), savoiardi biscuits. The reason I use an exclamation after the marsala is that, being literally a “pick me up” dessert, it was often given to the elderly and sick children, to give them energy with the sugar and coffee, and strength with the egg yolks. Also, it is often interchanged between other sweet dessert wines like muscat wine or sometimes dark rum or a moccachino-esque mixture. I hate to say it, but this is not a sophisticated dessert and it’s not one of the more amazing Italian classics.
Now, i’m not going to go too much into the different recipes because I honestly would be here for hours, and it’d be incredibly boring to read. But everything can be interchanged, it seems.
Does it need to contain savoiardi bicuits?
Does it need to contain coffee?
Does it need to contain whipped cream?
Does it need to contain raw egg whites?
Does it need to be dusted with cocao?
It seems that the only thing that’s so concrete about this dessert is that it has marscapone and egg yolks, and some people don’t even put those in! It can get silly but as I said, it’s very useful to know the original recipe. So that’s what I did, I went on a hunt and I found the original recipe. How cool! Well, I can’t say original recipe ever, but it’s the first recipe to ever be published in “Vin Veneto” in 1981 when they traced the dessert to Le Beccherie. Hooray! It shall be included a little further down!
A little more on it though, not to sound patronising, but just so we’re all at the same point. If you’ve never had Tiramisu before, it’s alternating layers of coffee and alcohol soaked savoiardi biscuits and zabaglione cream, sometimes being topped with whipped cream dusted with cocao powder. And it is creamy and very yummy and actually one of my favourite desserts. Alas, onwards!
The First Published Recipe for Tiramisu
As Credited to Vin Veneto Magazine and Le Beccherie!
Makes enough for about 20 servings!
350ml espresso coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
4 egg yolks
450gr marscapone cheese
30 savoiardi biscuits
2 tbsp cocao powder
– Brew your coffee strong! Dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar while it’s still warm and leave to cool a bit.
– Beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy and add the sugar and beat again.
– Combine the marscapone cheese to the mixture.
– Dip half the lady fingerss in the coffee and place in a pan in a single layer
– Spread half the marscapone mixture over the biscuits and repeat.
– Leave to chill for 3-4 hours and dust with cocao powder
Done! Simple as, it seems basic enough huh? I do worry about getting food poisoning and though i’m sure it’s perfectly safe, eating raw egg makes me nervous. So I do mine a little differently. If i’m honest, this recipe was completely made up when I was in the process of making it, and I used what I had to hand, living in a small town, marsala wine is not exactly in abundance, it took me long enough to find marscapone! So i’ve had to sub in some bits and bobs along the way, and i’ve altered slightly the recipe. But it’s not just me, thousands of people are as paranoid as I am! So here goes.
Serves 20 big portions, or 30-40 small portions. This is a beast of a Tiramisu!
500gr Marscapone cheese (room temp)
4 egg yolks
8 tbsp caster sugar
2 packets of savoiarde biscuits (about 50 biscuits)
250ml double cream
4 shots of Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum
6 tsp strong coffee diluted in a fair amount of hot water
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cocao powder for dusting
– Beat the eggs until they get fluffy and lovely and light, then add the sugar and beat some more. Add 2 shots of the coffee mixture, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the last 2 shots of Sailor Jerry’s.
– Prepare a double boiler and put the egg mixture dish over it and beat thoroughly until it becomes a warm custard. Keep it moving and stir thoroughly! Now’s the time to take it off the hob, it doesn’t need anymore heat.
– Get all of your marscapone cheese and mash it so it’s soft and pliable, then pour your egg mixture into it. This is your zabaglione custard/cream!
– Brew your coffee and add 2 shots of Sailor Jerry’s and 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and dip your savoiarde biscuits in and layer them across the bottom of your dish (about 8inch x 12inch x 3inch dish).
– Whip half of the double cream to stiff peaks and mix into the zabaglione. Mix well and try get all the lumps out.
– Pour some of your zabaglione-whipped cream mixture and spread across the biscuits.
– Soak and place another layer of savoiarde biscuits, and pour another layer of zabaglione custard and spread!
– If you have enough room soak and prepare another layer of biscuits and pour the last bit of your zabaglione.
– Whip the last half of the double cream to soft peaks and spread on top!
– Chill in the fridge for 5+ hours or overnight.
– Just before you serve, dust a thin layer of cocao powder on top, don’t dust it too soon because it’ll go soggy on top!
Sorry this one’s a bit blurry!
And there you go! I gave you a double helping of Tiramisu-ey goodness, with photographic steps. Aren’t I just a dedicated little blogger.
So after all that creamy, sexy goodness, I bid you farewell!