Tiramisù is truly a classic but having said to originated in the Veneto region in Italy’s north during the 1960s, it is a rather new culinary creation by Italian standards. Tiramisù, meaning ‘pick me up’, is often what I make to take to celebrations as it is not only loved by most, but can be made ahead of time and stored in fridge until ready to be served. The homemade Mascarpone creates a super rich and luscious Tiramisù while the Savoiardi made from scratch gives the dessert just the right texture. I like to add Marsala to my espresso, however many people add Rum, Brandy or another liquor of their choice.
I learned how to make Tiramisù whilst living in Italy – my version is rich and wet with lots of the cream (which is actually super light, thanks to the egg whites) and a good hit of espresso. If you prefer it a little less damp, soak your biscuits according to your preference. I make the Tiramisù in a round glass dish, which is the traditional shape, however, a rectangular or square dish works perfectly fine too.
I recently taught seven lovely humans how to make Tiramisù at the glorious Tamsin's Table , including the mascarpone ( a whole 4 kilos ) and our own Savoiardi. We roasted our beans and everyone left with a bowl of Tiramisù big enough to feed the whole of Poowong East. I'll be teaching another class, cakes this time, at Tamsin's Table in August, so keep your eyes peeled!
5 eggs, separated
120g caster sugar
30-40 Savoiardi biscuits, depending on size
Espresso soaking liquid
300ml espresso, cooled
Dutch press cocoa powder or dark chocolate
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick. Add the mascarpone to and gently whisk in until all combined.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture a little at a time, being careful to keep the air in the mixture. Set aside as you prepare the soaking liquid.
- Mix the cooled espresso with the marsala, adding a little water if too strong for your liking.
- To assemble, spread a little of the Tiramisù cream at the base of your chosen dish, just enough to cover the base.
- Taking a few Savoiardi at a time, dip into the espresso for just a few seconds or until the espresso just soaks in. Any longer and the Savoiardi will become soggy in your hands. Place the soaked biscuits onto the cream in a single layer.
- Now add the cream again, more generous this time, and carefully spread to cover the Savoiardi. Repeat with the Savoiardi and then the cream again until all the Savoiardi and cream have been used, making sure the final layer is the cream.
- Sieve over some cocoa powder or grate over dark chocolate and leave to set in the fridge for at least two hours. This will ensure the cream and espresso-soaked biscuits meld together nicely. It will be even better the following day!
Savoiardi, also known as Lady Fingers (amongst other names), date back to the 15th Century where they were served in the court of the Duchy of Savoy to celebrated a visit from the King of France.
The elongated sponge biscuits are wonderfully sweet and incredibly light. They are rather simple to make – only requiring a few ingredients, a little care and some elbow grease. Of course if you have a stand mixer, they’re even easier! The subtleness of flavour and sponge-like texture make Savoiardi all too perfect for Tiramisù and other similar desserts, as they are a superb vessel just perfect to be dunked in the espresso and Marsala. Some people also add vanilla to the mixture and I have also made them on occasions with lemon or orange zest, which add a lovely perfume to the biscuits.
Makes approximately 30 Savoiardi
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 vanilla pod, seeds only (optional)
100g plain flour
Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, half of the sugar and vanilla, if using, together until pale and thick. Set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until glossy and stiff again. You should be able to hold the bowl above your head without the egg whites falling. Fold the egg yolk mixture gently into egg whites.
- Sieve the flours over the mixture, a little at a time, gently incorporating each time.
- Line two trays with greaseproof paper and dust the tray generously with icing sugar.
- Fill a piping bag attached with a 2cm plain nozzle and pipe biscuits as long as your index finger, leaving space between each biscuit.
- Dust with icing sugar twice, allowing the icing sugar to absorb into the biscuit between each dusting. Sprinkle a little of the extra caster sugar on each biscuit and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool before gently removing from trays.
It’s hardly a recipe at all but once you know how, you will never buy mascarpone again. Making it at home is the closest thing you will get to the Mascarpone you can buy in Italy – creamy, rich and so luscious. Nothing really like the store-bought stuff we find here which tends to be grainy and often dry.
1 litre thickened cream
2 tbsp lemon juice
- Heat the cream in a pot until it reaches just before boiling point (90C). Add the lemon juice and stir continuously for approximately five minutes. You don’t want it to ever boil, just simmer.
- Allow to cool completely in the pot and pour into a sieve lined with three or four layers of damp muslin or cloth.
- Sit the sieve over a bowl, cover and allow to drain in the fridge overnight. Once it has drained, you will be left with a thick and velvety mixture, which is your Mascarpone! Transfer to a container and use within three days.