The creamy sin of tiramisu
Tiramisu, Italian tiramisu, is known worldwide and the epitome of Italian desserts. Especially with a romantic dinner, there is no alternative to the sweet, melt-in-the-mouth and delicious specialty. The tiramisu has fascinated people since the beginning and numerous stories have grown up around the juicy dessert. In addition to the creamy mascarpone, excellent espresso made from high-quality beans gives the tiramisu its unmistakable character.
The origin of the name Tiramisu is shrouded in many stories and legends. In the 17th century, Venetian courtesans are said to have particularly enjoyed the dessert. Therefore, they gave the tiramisu the spicy name, which literally means “pull me up”. A less frivolous naming comes from the 1940s of the last century. A guest is said to have shouted while enjoying the cream: “Ottimo, c`ha tirato su!” Translated this means something like “Excellent, it pulls me up”. The landlord took up this and gave it the name “Tirame su”.
In addition to the sugar, the espresso is responsible for this. The incomparable taste of the biscotti soaked in espresso unleash high quality beans full of character because only these form a harmonious aroma with a subtle acid structure, despite the strong roasting, and complete the lovely dessert.
History lesson tiramisu
The specialty is said to have been prepared in various variants since the 17th century, but the core recipe known today refers to the year 1971.
But back to the beginning:
In honor of Cosimo de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, a new dessert was created in Siena in the 17th century. This was very similar to today’s tiramisu. The confectioners baptized it with the name “Zuppa del Duca”, so the “Duke’s soup”, thereby paying homage to their prominent guest. But there are also less glamorous stories about the first hours of the Italian classic. Allegedly dried cake or bread was soaked in coffee. By chance, people combined the now soft pastries with mascarpone or similar dairy products and laid the foundation for the dessert again. The creamy mixture is also said to have been used as power food during World War I.
Today, many restaurants claim to have been the first to offer the “tiramisu” including “Al Vetturino”, a trattoria in Pieris, which is said to have served tiramisu since the 1940s. There are two restaurants in Treviso that are vying for recognition in terms of “tiramisu”. The most famous recipe goes back to “Le Beccherie”.
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The world famous composition
The core recipe of the world-famous composition is attributed to Roberto Linguanotto. In 1971, he was the pastry chef at the traditional restaurant “Le Beccherie” in Treviso, Italy, and created the non-alcoholic dessert. All you need is good espresso, cocoa, ladyfingers, egg yolks, sugar and mascarpone. Guiseppe Maffioli published the original recipe in his gastro magazine as early as 1981 and thus made the dessert famous:
“For the cream, four egg yolks are whipped with 100g sugar and mixed with 450g mascarpone. 30 ladyfingers are briefly soaked in 350 ml of cooled espresso that has been cooled with two teaspoons of sugar. After alternating two layers of biscuits on three layers of the egg and mascarpone cream, the dessert must rest in the refrigerator for four hours. Just before serving, dust with cocoa and then enjoy. “
Deviating from the original recipe, these days the classic dessert is mainly refined with alcohol and whipped egg white. In order to unleash new flavors and freshness, confectioners experiment with fruits and give the sweet sin varied nuances with almond or coffee liqueur, grappa, marsala, rum or amaretto. There are also alternatives for the biscotti. Sponge cake or Spekulatius follow the trend of the experimental kitchen and make the classic fit for the future.
The recipe full of character
For four people you need:
- 4 eggs
- 100 g powdered sugar
- 250 g mascarpone
- 175 g ladyfingers
- 100 ml espresso
- 1-2 teaspoons of alcohol of your choice
- 1 tbsp cocoa
The mascarpone cream gives the dessert sweetness and a delicate consistency. To do this, as in the core recipe, whip the egg yolk with half of the powdered sugar until frothy. Icing sugar is better suited than granulated sugar, as this does not dissolve sufficiently. The mascarpone is stirred together with this creamy mixture. The egg white, beaten until stiff with the second half of the icing sugar, is gently lifted into the mascarpone cream. This gives the necessary strength. The cream itself is the main flavor carrier due to its high fat and sugar content. Nevertheless, the mascarpone tastes rather bland and empty on its own.
What the tiramisu lacks is that certain kick. This comes into play with the coffee. Only high-quality beans should be used for the espresso. Because only if it is of excellent quality is a heavily roasted espresso still a pleasure when cold.
The ladyfingers are briefly soaked in the highly concentrated espresso. Depending on your taste, it can be refined with amaretto, coffee liqueur, etc. The biscuits should remain firm in the middle so that the dessert retains its shape.
If the five layers are stacked on top of one another, the composition must rest for at least four hours. Because of the raw eggs, it is important to pay attention to the cooling. Alternatively, the tiramisu can also be served as an ice parfait. If you want, you can also replace a layer of mascarpone with pureed or filleted fruit, creating a lighter summer variant.
The tiramisu is very soft and must therefore be arranged with care. The layers are easy to cut with a knife moistened in hot water. Then it can be carefully lifted onto the plate. Fine cocoa rounds off the classic. The decorative dust on the plate, together with fresh mint leaves or a few sliced fruits, skillfully stages the tiramisu.
Easier to serve is a composition arranged in a glass from the start. A Swiss roll with mascarpone cream is also innovative and easier to use. But the espresso shouldn’t be missing here either. Alternatively, a dash of coffee liqueur spices up the cream.
Conclusion: tradition meets innovation
- Tiramisu literally means “pull me up”
- The famous recipe dates back to 1971 and is alcohol-free
- There are many variations with alcohol and fruits
- The espresso gives the traditional dessert its character