TiraMiSù ExtraOrdinario

Swooning over a sumptuously spirited gourmet TiraMiSù.
' La Dolce Vita ' from my heart to your tummy.

Fluffy, creamy and possessing a lighter velvety texture than most versions.
The spirited use of Tia Maria and Grand Marnier...
are only a part of this dessert's stupendous outcome.

Through some fairly complex preparations in existence...
I'll share my simple method of assembling this delight for...
a spectacular visual and culinary sweet experience.

Ahh...the divinely magnificent one...
the decadently sought after creamy lusciously smooth Tiramisù.

Some epicurean historians trace this fabulous dessert back to the Renaissance ages.
It was said that when the Cosimo di Medici III visited the charming town of Siena, Tuscany...the Grand Duke was honoured with an enthusiastically created smooth tasting 'dolce freddo' .
Not so...say others.  For some...this is a fabricated tale!
They fervently disagree and trace it back to a few other more plausible originating versions.  
At least in popularity...one is that it relates to a passionate baker... 'il Signore Iannaccone' who concocted this delight in his small bakery within the town of Treviso.   
In 1973, 'Cucina Italiana magazine' dug a little more and found out that is was in fact a Signora Speranza Garatti that had actually created the first Tiramisù in the late 50s.  She had named it the 'Coppette Imperiale' in honour of a Greek Princess visiting Italy at the time.  This 'Coppetta' is now served in Treviso at the Ristorante al Fogher within the hotel of the same name.
Also, coincidentally, within the same 70's time period...this version was challenged again...by the belief that the Tiramisu was inventively created in a well known restaurant of the same Treviso town.  It seems that the confectioner's apprentice held a maiden name carrying the Tiramisù title.  
Personally, I get the feeling that Signora Speranza was indeed the true creator of this delicious dessert.  What are your thoughts?

Now, that the base recipe has transpired through the hands of many dedicated and passionate sweet teeth...many more versions will come to the surface for sure.
Can you imagine that this decadence became even more popularized due to brothels using this treat as a lure to more business! Yep...their customers swooned and devoured it all up...up...up and away to aid in repeated visits. Ohhh...I personally did not necessarily need to know this...however, I figured why not share this piece of dubious history with all of you ;o)  Come on...admit it...you didn't need to know...but glad you were informed...right ?!?

The bit of debate surrounding where the classic Tiramisù had originated has in no way hindered the way bakers all over the world try to re-invent this famous cold dessert with endless variations.  Of course, I'm no exception...and most of you by now know that about me.

Although some popular recipes do favour a Marsala wine...
I found other liquors act amazingly well with the...
cold preparation of sweet 'zabaglione ' custard cream.

The mascarpone's sweet, delicious smoothness that was experienced so...
long ago had remained embedded on my palate sort of speak.  
Now, here comes my personal contemplative moment relating to healthier and better habits.  
How could I accept a cream cheese containing as much as 70% fat content?

I know what you may be thinking...Claudia has gone bonkers!
Since when does she consciously use this much fat?
Well, first, I'm glad you're paying attention and second...
I do admit to faltering at times and caving to my delinquent sweet tooth ;o)

Therefore, admittedly, this is the very rare exception I make when...
relating to specialties such as the Tiramisu. 
This is not to say that I don't have a few proven healthier versions.
For today...I'll honour the classic and choose to share those healthier recipes at another time.
With all this culpability at hand...
I do console myself in knowing that in today's particular recipe version...
the weight of sweet guilt has been lightened somewhat.

Instead of adding heavy whipped cream to the already fattening mascarpone...
I use egg whites to lighten the load quite a bit. 
After all...with mascarpone...a little does go a long way.
Therefore, all in all...this is a somewhat a guilt diminished dessert...is it not?

Many tries and sacrificial consumptions trials later...
I finally have managed to have packaged the right formula...
to making an exquisitely simple method Tiramisù.

With a few practice eating pleasures as well as a few tweaks here and there...
I will share with you one of my very favourite versions of this popular Italian indulgence.

However, before, moving on, I definitely wanted to be clear on the importance...
of quality and fresh products for this particular dessert.
Short of making fresh mascarpone yourself or baking a batch of savoiardi cookies...
please make sure that a fresh cake like this one cannot mask products of lesser quality.

About the ingredients:
The TiraMiSù classico usually layers coffee soaked cookies between...
a silky egg custard 'zabaglione' blended perfectly with mascarpone cream cheese.
A very light dusting of cocoa powder tops of the dessert as a last kick!
In this ExtraOrdinario version...
you'll get two liquor enhancers as well as abundant chocolate shavings.
Here are some key points pertaining to the ingredients used in the TiraMiSù:

Cookies -- Biscuits / Ladyfingers / ' Pavesini ' / ' Savoiardi ':
Make sure the cookies are fresh...otherwise your tiramisu will undoubtedly end up too soppy. You'll also end up short with the coffee/ liquor dipping liquid.
Although the original classic did not have much chocolate other than sprinkled cocoa powder...I definitely find that an increased amount of bittersweet chocolate has enhanced the pleasure of this dessert. How could it not?
If you're concerned about the consumption of raw eggs....pre-freeze the separated eggs a few hours beforehand. Leave enough time for them to thaw and come to room temperature in order for them to be properly used.
Coffee - Espresso:
The pure quantity used in this recipe places a high importance on the selection of smooth, yet robust espresso you choose. This is not the time to try out a new brand. Stick with the best you've ever had.
Liquor(s) :
Although liquor was also not an integral part of the original recipe...along the way, some astute bakers like myself ;o) figured how a finely selected liquor(s) could only enhance the epicurean experience!
Here are just a few which are suitable to the overall satisfaction of this dessert:
. Madeira, Marsala and Port (these are the most popularly used when this dessert is made)
. Bourbon, Brandy, Cognac, Rum (dark) and Whiskey (when using these...it may be best to slightly increase the sugar content of the recipe)
. Amaretto, Cointreau, Drambuie, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Sambuca, Tia Maria. (one or a combo of these lead to a very interesting flavour difference)
Mascarpone cheese:
This ingredient is the critical part of why this dessert has become the chosen one among the top 5 Italian chilled desserts. It can't be stressed enough that there isn't an authentic substitute that will honour the dreamy Tiramisù.

Alright then...let's KICK it into gear and...
get ready to be PULLED enroute to be...
PICKED up by this fabulously decadent dessert.

TiraMiSù ExtraOrdinario
serves 10-12 portions

Click HERE to get a PRINT version of this recipe
NOTE: If you wish...this recipe can easily be made smaller since the measurements are in even numbers

(American / Metric measures)

.. 2 cups (500ml) cold, brewed espresso coffee
      note: I use a 10 cup Espresso pot to make this quantity of coffee
. 7 Tbsps. (105ml): Grand Marnier and Tia Maria
         Note: Madeira, Marsala or Port can also be used
. 4 xLarge eggs (separated)
. pinch of sea salt
. 4 Tbsps. (60ml) granulated sugar (separated)
. 1 small tub (8.8oz/250g) Mascarpone cream cheese

. 1 big pkg. of Italian cookies: Savoiardi (usually holds 48 cookies):

15 cookies x 2 surface layers...plus 8 for the third finishing layer...
and last 10 cookies (split) for edge décor

. 1-1/2 cups (150g) bittersweet (65-70%) chocolate
. 1/2 cup (85g) sliced almonds (lightly toasted)

. Although, I usually use a higher sided platter...
this time I wanted to create something a little more elaborate for a special occasion.
I used a rectangular 8 x 11inch (20x 28cm) presentation platter with slightly raised sides.

1. Pour the cooled coffee into a shallow dish measuring at least the length of your cookie. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites and pinch of salt until you get slightly soft peaks. While adding the 2 Tbsps. of sugar, continue beating until stiff peaks have been realized. Set aside.
...CREAM ('zabaglione') mix:
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, immediately start combining the egg yolks and remaining sugar. Beat them together right away until a thick, creamy pale consistency is achieved.
. Add the mascarpone and continue to beat the mix until a smooth.   Blend in the liquor.
. Now, with a spatula...gently fold the MERINGUE mix into the CREAM mix. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile...get the chocolate shaved or grated and set aside.

Assembly and décor of the TiraMiSù:

5. Prepare the platter of your choice and figure out the layout as well as pre-distributing the first layer of cookies to facilitate the initial part of the assembly. You'll probably need to break some in half in order to fit the complete surface. This will avoid any surprises while in the midst of having soaked cookies on hand.
Important note: For this particular presentation platter I placed the first two layers to hold a total of 15 cookies per level. The third level only holds 8 cookies placed side by side in the center. The remaining 10 cookies were split for the decoration around the perimeter.

6. TIP: It is best and more efficient to work as quickly as you can. To wet the cookies into the COFFEE mix, hold one cookie in each hand as you DIP -- TWIRL -- LEAK both cookies simultaneously in order to avoid over soaking them.

7. Immediately transfer cookies onto the platter as you place them side by side in a single layer within your pre-designed layout.

8. With the aid of a ladle and spatula...spread a 1/3 of the CREAM mix over the first layer of cookies.

9. Scatter, the first 1/4 of the chocolate shaving throughout the surface.  Note: the cream may seem liquidy...don't be concerned. Once the Tiramisù sets in the fridge...all the ingredients will set together into a unified delicious mass. 

10. REPEAT another layer of soaked cookies and spread another 1/3 of the CREAM mix completely over the second layer.   Scatter, another 1/4 of the chocolate shaving throughout the surface.  Scatter, another 1/4 of the chocolate shaving throughout the surface.

11. The third and last layer is slightly different. You'll use only 8 soaked cookies to be lined up side by side in the center throughout the longest length of the cake.


12. Pour the remaining CREAM and generously scatter the rest of the chocolate shavings throughout the whole surface.


13. In the center on the longest direction and down the shortest edge...scatter the toasted almonds.  Split the remaining 10 cookies.  Place the cut side downwards around the edge of the cake's two longest sides.

...chilling the TiraMiSù:
. Since this type of dessert truly benefits from being prepared a while before serving...
it is highly suggested to place a few surface toothpicks and cover it with plastic wrap.

Chill it for a minimum of 4-6 hours.  
My preference is to at least leave it overnight to set.
. For every additional hour it gets to relax, set and amalgamate all the flavours...

you will ultimately be rewarded with superior results.  
Its freshness can also be held between 2-4 days.

Hoping that the next time you think
of making this dedicated indulgence...
this particular recipe and
presentation comes to mind.

Well, as you've attested today...I somewhat went against the grain and led you in a slightly different direction.  Therefore, give this fine recipe a try and let me know if you're willing to forgo the typical classic ingredients and presentation once and a while ;o)

As I conclude...I would like to dedicate this TiraMiSù to the Birthday Boy who happens to be the lucky guy who has me as his step-daughter ;o)

Flavourful wishes,

Comments .. ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Here are a few other 'OCCASION' desserts that may interest you: