I love hearing about the origin of Italian dishes from my Momma, who grew up in Venice, Italy, and who became a gourmet chef when she arrived in America. One of my favorite stories is about a gourmet dessert that America has fallen in love with called Tiramisu. It is believed to have originated at a fabulous restaurant in Treviso, my Momma’s hometown, called Le Beccherie. It was the first place she took me to when I was 18 years old when visiting her town for the first time. Since then, Tiramisu has turned up in most Italian restaurant menus but few people actually know what Tiramisu means. It means “pick me up.” As Momma explained to me, during WW2, rationing was mandatory in Italy, and many people were under-nourished. That was a particular concern for pregnant women who needed to keep up the nutrients and calories to produce healthy babies. Tiramisu was the perfect solution. It’s loaded with protein-rich eggs, and calorie-rich heavy cream and Mascarpone cheese. The espresso would give one a boost of energy, and together the ingredients provided the perfect “pick me up.” The beauty of Tiramisu is that it is so easy to make. The only challenge is, you have to wait 8 hours for it to set up. But it’s worth the wait. Give yourself a delicious pick me up this week with melt-in-your-mouth Tiramisu!
Watch my How To Video for Tiramisu here!
- 24 Lady Fingers (Savoiardi)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup milk or cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 cups strong coffee or espresso
- 1/2 cup Kahlua
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- In a glass or stainless bowl that fits over a pot to create a double boiler, whisk together 6 yolks and 1 cup of sugar. Blend thoroughly, then add ¼ cup milk or cream, and blend until well combines. Fill double boiler pot with enough water to heat the bottom and sides of the bowl. Bring water to boil, and then whisk the egg mixture for about 8 minutes or until mixture is 165 degrees for food safety. Remove bowl from heat and let cool. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to form stiff peaks. When the egg mixture has cooled, fold in the marscarpone and whipped cream until well combined. In a shallow baking dish or bowl, add 2 cups of strong coffee or espresso and Kahlua. Dip each lady finger into the coffee mixture for just a few seconds turning the cookie over in the liquid several times. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with the dipped lady fingers so they touch each other. Spread half of the egg and cream mixture over the first layer of lady fingers. Repeat with a second layer of cookies and a second layer of egg and cream mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle cocoa powder over the top. Serve chilled.