The great thing about tiramisu is that it goes with pretty much everything. It has always been my favorite Italian dessert although I am surprised at how many people dislike it. I think it must have to do with all the bad tiramisus they had once upon a time.
Tiramisu can be terrible or it can be heavenly. I think this recipe is the latter...it is after all adapted from Lorenza di Medici who runs a fabulous cooking school in Italy with a little Williams Sonoma thrown in for simplicity's sake. It is a little more involved that most recipes you have seen, but it is, after all, the classical tiramisu where both heavy cream and beaten egg whites are added to the mascarpone and eggs. Ingredients do count here and if you cannot find fresh ladyfingers, there is a recipe for them in my country blog. Also, make sure you use mascarpone, good cocoa powder and good liquor. Don't cut corners when it comes to this dessert and, who knows, you might change your mind.
Next week, I will post a simpler version in my country blog but, in the meantime, here is my version of this heavenly dessert.
serves 12 to 15.
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 lb. mascarpone cheese, softened
2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 Tbs. brandy, marsala or rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. plus 2 to 3 cups brewed espresso
5 egg whites
40 to 50 ladyfingers
Cocoa powder for dusting
In a mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water but not touching the water, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
In a chilled large mixing bowl, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the liquor, vanilla and the 2 Tbs. espresso and whisk until smooth.
In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. (When the whisk is lifted straight out of the bowl and inverted, the whites should hold their shape.)
With a rubber spatula, gently fold the mascarpone mixture into the cream until blended and smooth. Add about 1 cup egg whites and fold gently until blended. Add the remaining egg whites and fold gently until the mixture is smooth and blended.
One at a time, submerge the ladyfingers into the 2 to 3 cups espresso. Lay enough ladyfingers on the bottom of a 6-quart glass or ceramic baking or serving dish (about 2 inches deep) to form a single layer. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers until evenly covered. Arrange another layer of ladyfingers over the mascarpone cream, then spread the remaining mascarpone cream evenly over the top. Dust the tiramisù with cocoa powder to create a rich, dark topping. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day before serving.
Recipe adapted from Lorenza di Medici and Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.