Also known as a “Tuscan Trifle,” tiramisu, which translates to “pick me up,” is a luscious melt-in-your-mouth Italian layered cake.
The origins of tiramisu are a bit murky. Legend has it that a tiramisu-like dessert was created in Siena during the 17th century. But the known facts point to the dessert’s history as being fairly recent. The first documented tiramisu recipe appeared in 1983, in a book by Giovanni Capnist called “I Dolci del Veneto” (The Desserts of Veneto).
Since then, this dessert has become popular all over Italy and the United States. Different variations of the recipe exist, with ladyfingers, eggs, espresso and mascarpone cheese as the key components.
I don’t like the use of eggs in this recipe, since there is a slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness when consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs. So I have created a version without eggs that has a wonderful almond flavor, is light and airy, tastes authentic and is easy to prepare.
Maria’s Almond Tiramisu (recipe by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Makes 10 or more servings
- 2 cups espresso or very strong coffee, divided
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 40 ladyfingers, divided
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, enough for dusting
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate for the top, more if desired
Brew the coffee. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, sour cream, almond extract, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and three tablespoons of the coffee. With a blender, beat well until creamy.
In a separate large mixing bowl and with a blender, beat heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream mixture until just combined.
Pour coffee into a medium-size, shallow bowl and add 1 tablespoon of milk. Lightly dip ladyfingers in coffee, coating both sides. (Do not completely immerse ladyfingers into the coffee or they will be too soggy.) Layer the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with 20 ladyfingers, arranging them to fit.
Spread half of the cream mixture on top. Using a small sieve, dust with cocoa powder (optional). Repeat a layer of the ladyfingers and top with remaining cream mixture.
Dust the dessert with the remaining cocoa powder and top with the chocolate pieces. Refrigerate at least six hours or overnight for best results (the ladyfingers will expand into a cakelike texture). Cut into squares and serve.
This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego.