As I mentioned yesterday, I hosted the monthly meeting of my book club a few weeks ago. This (super fun) group of girls and I have been doing a book club together for a few years (this might be our fourth year?? wow) and these girls’ nights are one of the highlights of my month. Every year around December/January, we get together and everyone brings a book they would like to read over the upcoming year. We then divvy up months for our books, and on your month you choose where you would like to meet. We frequently go out to eat, but every once in a while someone will host in their home.
While I usually jump at any excuse to eat out, this year I chose to have everyone over to our place. My book this year was Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano, and for me it was the perfect inspiration for a home-cooked meal. Without giving too much away, Elizabeth Street is the story of an immigrant family from southern Italy in the early 1900s. Coming from an immigrant family from southern Italy myself, a lot of the cultural aspects of this story really resonated with me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It inspired me to throw together a nice Italian meal, complete with entirely-from-scratch lasagne (more on that later) and this tiramisu. I had never made tiramisu before, but the recipe sounded easy enough (actually way easier than I expected) and I figured what better time to give it a try?
As I’m sure you can guess since you’re seeing it here, the recipe did not disappoint. It was a hit at book club and for many nights afterwards (or mornings, if you’re Daren and can only eat tiramisu for breakfast because you have a crazy-low tolerance for caffeine).
A couple notes on ingredients – because this is a no-bake dessert, I chose to buy pasteurized eggs for safety reasons. The brand I found was called Safest Choice, and the eggs are stamped with a red P to indicate that they are pasteurized. These eggs are gently heated to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. As far as the savoiardi, or lady fingers, make sure to buy hard savoiardi as opposed to soft (not the ones in the freezer section, as best as I can tell). If you live in the area, I had a hard time finding these, but ShopRite came through once again (I think their “ethnic” section is just way better than the other stores around here). Also, mascarpone can be expensive, but if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby that has the cheapest prices I’ve seen. One final note – the tiramisu does need time to chill in the refrigerator, so if you can make it the day before that works well!
By the way – this recipe originally comes from Cook’s Illustrated, so it’s no wonder it’s both delicious and nearly foolproof! Everything I’ve ever made from them has turned out perfectly. Love when you can have that kind of confidence about a recipe before you’ve ever tried it.
- 2 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
- 1 1/2 tbsp. espresso powder
- 7 tbsp. Kahlua, divided
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1 1/2 lbs. mascarpone
- 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
- 14 oz. (42 to 60, depending on size) dried savoiardi (ladyfingers)
- 3 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
- 1/4 cup grated semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (optional)
In a wide bowl or baking dish, stir together the coffee, espresso powder, and 3 tablespoons Kahlua until the espresso dissolves; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks at low speed until just combined. Add the sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add in the remaining 4 tablespoons Kahlua and beat at medium speed until just combined, about 30 seconds; scrape down the bowl. Add the mascarpone and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice. Transfer the mixture to large bowl and set aside.
In the empty mixer bowl (no need to clean the bowl first), beat the heavy cream at medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the cream forms stiff peaks, being careful not to beat past stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Once combined, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set the mixture aside.
Working one at a time, lay a ladyfinger horizontally on the surface of the coffee mixture, roll it over, remove and transfer to a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. (DO NOT fully submerge the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture; the entire dipping process should take no longer than a second or 2 for each cookie.) Arrange the soaked cookies in a single layer in the baking dish, breaking or trimming ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly.
Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, using a rubber spatula to gently spread the mixture to the sides and into the corners of the dish and to smooth the surface. Place 2 tablespoons cocoa powder in a fine-mesh strainer and dust cocoa over the mascarpone.
Repeat the dipping and arrangement of the ladyfingers, then spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and dust with 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, if using; cut into pieces and serve chilled.
Yield: about 12 servings
Source: Brown Eyed Baker; originally from Cook’s Illustrated