This delicious recipe for tiramisu is a family recipe, which is true enough because my mum gave it to me. Now it shouldn’t matter that my mum definitely isn’t italian. She’s Vietnamese. However I don’t think her being in possession of a kick-ass tiramisu recipe is a completely weird thing because many of her vietnamese recipes are heavily french influenced, and Italy is right next to France, so….you know what I mean? However I’m quite certain that she never grew up on mascarpone cheese. Or any cheese. Sad face.
My mum is the most amazing woman I know and I love her to pieces. I inherited my cheekbones and all of my culinary skills from her, which is lucky for me because my sister got all of the available artistic talent from my dad. So I think it’s a fair division of the genes within my family, even though I can’t draw for shit and God only knows what the hell my sister cooks for dinner.
My tips on making this tiramisu: When the recipe says to dip the sponge fingers into the coffee, literally just dip it in. No need to hold them underwater otherwise the sponge fingers will soak up too much liquid and disintegrate, as well as oozing coffee all through the mascarpone cream. I layer the sponge fingers first in the bowl rather than the cream first, just like my mum does, to make it easier to scoop out. I like to shave milk chocolate as well as a dusting of cocoa powder on top for extra chocolatey-ness. Another thing to note is that it’s fairly rich, so serve small portions. Tiramisu apparently means “lift me up” which I assume is referring to the effects from the caffeine part of the dessert, but if you eat enough of it, I guess no one will be able to lift you up.
There is no cooking involved in this recipe, so just a warning to all those who are preggers or freak out about eating raw things, the eggs in this are uncooked. There is a version where the eggs are cooked into a custard first but why bother if you don’t need to? To allay your fears about the raw eggs, well, use fresh eggs and keep your tiramisu in the fridge. Also Bruce Lee and Marilyn Monroe both drank raw eggs every morning and they were perfectly healthy?
I was never a huge tiramisu fan before because I don’t really like coffee that much, but this has changed my mind. I could eat this all day long. In fact, I had it for breakfast on Sunday and it really kick-started my exhausting day of laying on the couch and doing nothing.
my wonderful mum’s recipe
2 packets of italian savoiardi sponge finger biscuits (I needed 27 fingers for my dish)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
600ml pouring cream
500g mascarpone cheese
500ml cold strong coffee
2 shots of marsala wine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cocoa powder and chocolate shavings for decoration
Beat egg yolks and sugar in a mixer until fluffy and light. Add the mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract to the egg and sugar mixture and beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whip the pouring cream to soft peaks. Fold the cream into the cheese mixture.
Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the cream mixture to lighten, and then fold the remaining egg white through and thoroughly combined.
Add the marsala wine to the cold coffee. Get your bowl or dish ready (you could also make it in individual glasses) of at least 6cm high. Dip the sponge fingers one at the time into the coffee and place in a single layer on the bottom. Add half of the cream on top and smooth it out. Add another layer of coffee dipped sponge fingers on top. Add the rest of the cream. Cover the top with the shaved chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder. Best to refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.