You may be surprised to learn that this classic Italian dessert dates back only as far as the late 1960s -early 1980s. Carminantonio Iannaccone claims he invented this dish on Christmas Eve 1969 while he was head chef in Treviso (near Venice); however, the first written record of tiramisu comes from Giovanni Capnist’s 1983 recipe book I dolci del Veneto. Alternatively, tiramisu, whose name literally means ‘pick-me-up’, is thought to have been a variation on zuppe inglese – a similar treat of savoiardi biscuits dipped in Alchermes (an Italian herb liqueur) created in the Duchal kitchens of 16th century Ferrara in an effort to recreate the English trifle eaten at Elizabethan Court. This version is light, creamy and effortlessly rich – instead of the traditional Marsala wine, I’ve used Kahlúa as it pairs nicely with the espresso and mascarpone.
Incredibly easy to prepare, tiramisu is a dessert that can be eaten any time of day – and, as we have recently discovered, is the perfect hangover cure! A bit of booze, some coffee-soaked ladyfingers and creamy mascarpone – a surefire way to pick you up.
Tiramisu (Serves 10-12)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and frothy – the ‘ribbon stage.’ Whisk in the mascarpone and Kahlúa.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites together until beaten stiff. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone, egg yolk and sugar mixture.
- Prepare the espresso and pour it into a small bowl. One at a time, dip the savoiardi biscuits into the espresso (one side only!) and organise in a layer at the bottom of your dessert tray or trifle cups. Pour the mascarpone mixture on top of the espresso-soaked biscuits. Repeat for a second layer and lightly dust the cocoa powder on top. Let chill for at least 4 hours so that the mascarpone will set.