Tackling the Fear of Tiramisu

Have you ever taken a bite of a tiramisu just to discover it brought you to a magical, fluffy, heavenly place? If not, I am so sorry. Try to experience this at least once in your life. If yes, then you know what I am talking about… I had this “outter body” experience when I tried a specific tiramisu in Italy. It was a simple restaurant down the street where I was staying at the time, and it has probably been made there since the beginning with the same old chef… To me, however, I don’t know if it was because I was in a different environment, but this tiramisu seemed like a piece of a cloud with chocolate on top. The definition of perfection.

The key to a good tiramisu is to have the lady fingers be fluffy and moist, but not too soaked. With this recipe (pictured above), I tried to keep in mind that the dessert would sit in the fridge overnight and that it wouldn’t only have absorbed the coffee, but the custard that was layered with it as well. I had great success with coffee made out of a mock pot, or a machianetta. Coffee made with this pot creates something stronger than regular espresso, which in turn gives off very strong coffee flavor even after a few days. After living in Italy, I developed a very strong appreciation for bold, strong black coffee, and the machianetta allows me to recreate that flavor here in the U.S. For those who don’t know what this coffee maker is, it is a stove-top pot that produces coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee (bottom up).

What I really liked about this recipe too was the fact it called for orange and lime zest, to soften out the egg yolk flavor. Additionally, although many tiramisu recipes call for only egg yolks and no egg whites, this one I made called for whipped egg whites to be incorporated with the mascarpone cheese and egg yolks to form the custard. Which, I found to turn the custard very fluffy and airy and reminded me of that tiramisu I had in Florence.

Did you know tiramisu means “pick me up” for the fact it has strong espresso inside and the heavy mix of eggs and sugar, that all add to give you a pick me up of caffeine and sugar… what else can you ask for in a dessert?

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