The first time I had tiramisu was because of my mother. If you haven’t already noticed, my love for cooking stems from my mom. All the delightful sweet treats and culinary dishes have been introduced to me because of my mom. Oddly enough, my mom doesn’t make a lot of desserts or baked treats in our house. In fact when we were younger the only desserts I remember having were Indian ones, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. However, my mom loves experimenting with new foods and introducing us to new things, so one day she came home with the ingredients to make tiramisu.
I absolutely loved helping my mom make tiramisu. My siblings and I would fight over who got to dip the ladyfingers into the espresso, who got to whisk the mixture and who go to lick the spoon. In our little eyes, it seemed like it took forever to make the dessert. However, in the end, it would be ready and we eagerly dug into the creamy, espresso-y goodness.
I am sure that for many, there are desserts out there that evoke many memories. For me, food is a huge marker of my family life. There are so many beautiful memories that I associate with food and family. Tiramisu is just one of them!
Believe it or not, every time I make tiramisu, something goes wrong. Well mainly, the biggest issue I have is not having a strong enough espresso flavour. This stems from the fact that I do not dip my ladyfinger biscuits into the espresso for long enough because I do not want to make them soggy. The worst thing, in my opinion, is having watery tiramisu because of an oversoaked biscuit. When we were younger we tended to have watery tiramisu because my siblings and I used to dip the biscuits LOL!
However, I have learned that the key is really to just dunk your biscuits in quickly. You submerge the cookies and immediately pull it back out. That way they do not get soggy. On that note, you want to make sure you are using some quality coffee here. I personally like brewing mine in a large saucepan. Adding the sugar to the espresso ensures that your coffee isn’t bitter since we all know cold coffee doesn’t taste that good.
Like always, I encourage you to use quality ingredients. Do not skimp out on the mascarpone cheese. I understand that it is pricey, but good mascarpone cheese is such a delight to indulge in. In fact, I always end up eating spoonfuls of the mascarpone mixture as I assemble the tiramisu. You know, I only do this for quality assurance purposes 😉
Finally, my secret ingredient is the addition of almond essence and Disaronno. Many recipes call for Marsala, and though I haven’t tried it in my tiramisu, I think the addition of Disaronno is even better than Marsala!
Ultimately, the real secret to a good tiramisu is time and love. It takes time to make the dessert and for the flavours to develop and you need a lot of love for this recipe to turn out perfectly!
In a large saucepan, bring 1 and 1/2 cups of water, approximately 1/2 cup of espresso or ground coffee and 3/4 cups of sugar to boil. Let your coffee mixture boil for 5 - 10 minutes to ensure you have a nice strong flavour. Alternatively, you can combine 3/4 cups of sugar with 1 and 1/2 cups of brewed coffee. Strain your espresso mixture and set aside to cool completely.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups of full cream with 1/4 cup of sugar. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream until it becomes thick (around 5 minutes). Cover the bowl and set inside the fridge until ready to use.
In a large bowl, whisk the 4 egg yolks with the remaining 2/3 cups of sugar until the mixture is pale in colour. Fold the mascarpone mixture gently into the egg mixture. Add the almond essence and Disaronno and fold. Mix the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Ensure that there are no clumps of mascarpone cheese and that the mixture is nice and smooth. At this point, I encourage you to try the mixture and add more Disaronno or sugar if you feel the mixture needs it. Keep in mind that the espresso already has sugar in it, so you do not want it to be too sweet.
To assemble the tiramisu, spoon a layer of the mascarpone cheese onto the bottom on a medium sized casserole dish. Taking one ladyfinger at a time, dip the cookie into the espresso until the cookie is just coated. When you remove the biscuit it should still be firm and should not easily break. Place the cookie into the casserole dish. Repeat this process until the whole bottom is covered with ladyfingers. Spoon another layer of mascarpone cheese and repeat the same process.
Once you have finished the ladyfingers, you will add one final layer of mascarpone cheese. I use a small offset spatula to smooth the mixture across the last layer of ladyfingers so that the edges are covered. Complete the dessert by dusting cocoa powder all over the top. Cover the tiramisu and let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours. You really want the flavours to develop and for the espresso to further soak into the biscuits. Keep the dessert refrigerated until ready to eat. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.