Pick me up! That’s what Tiramisu means in Italian. The “Pick me up” coming from eggs, sugar and the caffeine. I think it’s called pick me up because it’s so fabulous you can’t say no to it. The uniqueness of this decadent Italian dessert lies in the creative combination of coffee, chocolate and the rich mascarpone cheese and cream. I have loved this dessert since the very first time I ate it. It’s rich but not too sweet, just the way I like a dessert.
The standard recipe involves sponge cake or ladyfingers dipped in coffee liqueur and then layered with a rich pudding made out of cream, marsala wine, eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese. Ladyfinger biscuits, mascarpone cheese, and marsala wine can be replaced with pound cake squares or rounds, cream cheese and sweet wine or port.
This recipe does not include any liqueur or eggs. I have eaten many different varieties of this dessert and not including eggs or liqueur made no difference to the taste of Tiramisu. I used ladyfingers (available at Raley’s supermarket, $2 for a dozen) but I think pound cake is better as it allows you to present tiramisu in different styles. You can buy pound cake slices and cut them in squares or rounds. In any case, the idea is to create a double layer of cake and the pudding.
Here it is, the lacto-vegetarian Tiramisu!
Makes 4 individual servings.
For the pudding:
1.5 cups whipping cream
1/8 cup sugar
5 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract
For the Coffee Syrup:
2 tea spoon instant coffee powder
1 table spoon coffee extract (left over coffee decoction works)
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 table spoon cocoa powder (I used ghirardelli’s unsweetened cocoa)
6 ladyfingers (Each can be separated into two, like English Muffin, so you have a total of 12)
1 tea spoon cocoa powder to sprinkle
Chocolate shavings (Optional)
10-12 berries to sprinkle on top (raspberries and/or blueberries)
To make the Pudding:
1. Beat cream and sugar until fluffy (approx. 2 minutes)
2. Remove approx. 3/4 cup and refrigerate. This is to be used later as a garnish.
3. Add mascarpone cheese to the remaining cream and blend for about 30 seconds. Add Vanilla extract. You can also add any sweet wine at this time.
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the coffee syrup:
In a medium size pan, combine all ingredients except vanilla.
Boil on medium heat for about 8 minutes.
Let cool completely.
Add vanilla extract and mix.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
1. Arrage 3 lady fingers on the sides of your individual serving bowl/parfait glass. (As shown in the picture)
2. Fill the glass with the pudding until it covers half way up the glass (about 3 table spoons.)
3. Pour approx 3 table spoon of coffee syrup on the pudding and the lady fingers.
4. Top with a dollop of the cream that you saved for garnish.
5. Sprinkle cocoa powder, chocolate shavings and berries (if you like) on top.
Note: To sprinkle cocoa powder, I put the powder in a small tea strainer (the kind used in India) and hit the side of it against my palm gently. This sprinkles the powder evenly and beautifully around the dessert.
break a ladyfinger piece from the bottom of the glass, scoop some custard on your way up and enjoy.
Another way to assemble tiramisu:
1. Soak pound cake squares or or lady fingers in the coffee syrup and layer it on a flat serving dish.
2. Spread pudding evenly all over the lady fingers.
3. Create one more layer of lady fingers and pudding on top of the first layer.
4. Spread the garnish cream and decorate with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings and berries.