An Italian desert, Tiramisu means pick me up. While I have no idea why they sometimes have such absurd names for deserts, Italians surely knew how to make some fabulous with actually cooking. ‘Tiramisu’ is one of those fabulous things that is made by the combination of a lot of ingredients and letting them come together in your mouth. Something that reminds me of the Indian curry which is a magical combination of spices (but done so over heat).
For the complete beginners, Tiramisu is like a layer cake. Layers of ladyfingers or sponge and a custard covered with chocolate and chilled so that the flavours come together slowly. The first question that many would ask is – ‘ladyfingers… a desert with Bhindi???’. Be assured, this desert does not have any bhindi. (You would be surprised how many people asked me this)
Ladyfingers are actually light and sweet sponge cakes roughly shaped like a large finger. You can find these in one of those high end stores and if you don’t want to make that much effort then a pound cake, sponge cake, soft cookies would work too.
The second question could be ‘what is mascarpone?’. Mascarpone is a creamy cheese which is used to make the custard. I personally feel that it is important to learn more about the various kinds of cheese and to understand that it is used not just as a pizza topping but for a variety of purpose. For more information on the various kinds of cheese refer to http://www.hungrysher.com/2011/12/cheesy-world.html
The actual method of making this desert is quite easy once you are done with the custard. How difficult can it be layering biscuits, right? But once you are done with the layering make sure it is chilled in the fridge overnight. This is one of those deserts which is not served fresh. The more time (1-2 days) it spends alone in the fridge, the better would the final product be. The custard turns creamy and almost like ice-cream and the strong coffee flavor spreads all over balancing out the sweet custard. I would suggest making it on a Sunday night, so that something heavenly awaits you when you return from your Monday blues!
2 cups strong black coffee
1/2 cup marsala (alternatively use rum)
3 eggs, separated
1/3 cup caster sugar
300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped
1 large packet of sponge fingers or lady fingers
Cocoa and chocolate shavings
Preparing the custard
Beat egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until pale and thick.
Add the mascarpone and whipped cream into this bowl and combine.
Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with electric beater until soft peaks form.
Using a large metal spoon, gently fold eggwhites into the mascarpone mixture prepared earlier.
Layering the desert
Pour coffee and marsala into a dish.
Dip biscuits into the coffee mixture and place at the base of a ceramic dish.
Cover the biscuits with one-third of the custard mixture.
Repeat layers 2 times, ending with the custard.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Dust generously with cocoa and chocolate shavings before serving.