I was on a business trip the first time I tasted Tiramisu. Not for my own company–for my brother’s. As a salesman for his firm, he had made enough sales that year to earn a trip to Florida with the top salesmen, and he did not have a significant other at the time, so he took me! What a nice brother, right? For three days, I got pampered on the company dime and one evening they served Tiramisu for dessert. I had never even heard of it, but I fell in love with it from the moment I took my first bite. So did my brother. Now, whenever I see it offered on the menu of any Italian restaurant I visit, it is my dessert choice. I have not had ladyfingers since I was a child and they really weren’t my favorite by themselves, so when I read the recipe, I was hesitant to use them and was tempted to use a sponge cake instead. Daughter #2 shook her head at me and said, “No mom, you need to use the ladyfingers”. I get a kick out of it when my kids shake their heads at me. It means they are paying attention. She was right. In Tiramisu, ladyfingers become so light and fluffy. You wouldn’t think from reading the ingredients that this dessert is so light, but it really is. It is elegant enough to serve to your dinner guests and you can make it ahead of time! In fact, you should. It tastes better the second day.
My neighbor’s husband was in the military and they lived in Italy for a while. She said this is the best Tiramisu she’s had outside of Italy! I’ll take that compliment!
- 2 3-oz. packages ladyfingers, divided
- 1 cup brewed espresso, or strong coffee
- 1 carton (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup powedered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup Kahlúa
- 1 ounce white baking chocolate, grated
- 1 ounce bittersweet baking chocolate, grated
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Whipped cream (optional)
- In a small shallow dish, add espresso. Dip first half of the ladyfingers into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Line the bottom of an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with the soaked ladyfingers, breaking them if necessary to fill in spaces.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until stiff peaks form. Add Kahlúa and beat until just combined.
- Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers in pan. Sprinkle with white chocolate and bittersweet chocolate.
- Top with another layer of soaked ladyfingers, cutting to fit. Spread with remaining mascarpone mixture.
- Cover and chill for at least 6 hours.
- Before serving, lightly dust cocoa powder on Tiramisu.
- Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Et cetera: This is a favorite dessert of son-in-law, so when I found this recipe in a Ladie’s Home Journal magazine, I decided to make it for him. He’s good to Daughter #2 and my grandchildren and he also spoils me when I visit, so I treat him to Tiramisu. It works for me, too.