I really like working with a recipe that is flexible and tiramisu is one you can make your own yet still keep its identity.
I've always enjoyed tiramisu but it can be way too rich and high caloric. So when I make a recipe I look for ways to make it more calorie friendly yet still keep it tasty and delicious.
For this makeover recipe I wanted to keep the richness in the dessert and the whipped cream is what it needed. Though my use of heavy cream with the mascarpone would not be considered good eats on a diet menu, sometimes there is just no substitute for cream. I raised the white flag and gave up the diet to enjoy this delicious dessert.
Short Background on Tiramisu
For a very brief and quick re-cap, the translation of tiramisu is "pick me up" or "pull me up" which relates to the sugar and the caffeine from the espresso.
The traditional Italian tiramisu is made using eggs for a rich zabaglione, or raw eggs separated, the yolks blended with the mascarpone cheese and then folding in the whipped egg whites. Liqueur, namely marsala wine or brandy, was not in the original tiramisu recipe back some 30-40 years ago since the dessert was for the entire family to enjoy which included the children.
Rich and delicious, yes, but heart healthy and the risk of salmonella from the raw eggs, not so much. So I eliminated the eggs and added whipped cream, still rich but less cholesterol without the eggs.
My sister the "cook" coaxed me into doing a remake of this traditional Italian dessert. She's having a family gathering this summer and wants to serve a few dishes that were similar to those we enjoyed when we were kids at our family gatherings and tiramisu is one of them.
This was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Traditionally made, tiramisu includes savoiardi (ladyfinger cookies), espresso, mascarpone, sugar, eggs and chocolate for garnish.
I just had to simplify the preparation of the ingredients to make this layered dessert. I made two varieties, one with liqueur and one without. I chose to use amaretto since that is what I had rather than the marsala wine which is used in many of the traditional Sicilian style recipes made. You can choose to use a coffee liqueur if that suits your tastes.
Since I was testing this recipe I made a few individual portions to give to my tasters and the traditional family style for my victims -- oh, I mean family : ).
Tiramisu With Amaretto (or Without)
- 1/2 cup brewed strong espresso coffee, room temperature
- 1/4 cup amaretto liqueur (optional)
- 1 (8 ounce) package mascarpone softened
- 3/4 cup heavy cream whipped
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (optional)
- 1-2 TBLS. powdered sugar
- 20 savoiardi (ladyfingers)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1. Combine the brewed coffee and amaretto (if using) into a measuring cup.
- 2. In a small bowl whip cream, adding the powdered sugar and vanilla slowly to the cream while whipping.
- 3. In a medium bowl whip the mascarpone for only 30 seconds just to give it a little lightness. Then fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone until well blended.
- 4. Line a medium size glass baking dish with plastic wrap and let the wrap overlap the sides of the plate. This will help to un-mold the dessert onto a serving platter.
- 5. Place the ladyfingers in the bottom of the dish in the same direction and with a pastry brush give the ladyfingers a brush or two of the coffee and amaretto. The cookies should have a coating of the coffee mixture to be absorbed for flavor.
- 6. Top the layer of ladyfingers with the mascarpone and cream mixture just until covered.
- 7. Repeat layering with another set of ladyfingers placed in the opposite direction of the bottom layer -- brush with coffee -- spread with mascarpone and cream mixture. Continue layering process using all the ladyfingers, and the top layer is covered with the mascarpone and cream mixture.
- 8. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving (2 hours or more would be better as the flavors of the coffee and liqueur need to blend into the ladyfingers). Sprinkle the top with powdered cocoa just before serving.
This test recipe turned out great. Everyone thought the amount of sugar and liqueur worked -- it had just a hint of sweetness and just enough liqueur for flavor, neither being overpowering.
My individual servings were a bit on the large size, but if you have a smaller size glass vessel you can serve these at a luncheon for a bridal shower or baby shower (without liqueur).