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Test Recipes: The Classic Tiramisu (original recipe?)
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an old saying (I think it was French..?)- To many cooks spoil the broth- Tira Mi SU in transalation means Pick me up- My brother is employed by a noted pastry chef after finishing 5 years training in the middle of Rome Italy- I am also an expert among other things in the Art and science of classical Italian cookery- Tira mi su as such is not a classical recipe its an invented recipe- The actual secret to its invention is actually based on traditional practices dating back to 17th century italy in a period of time pertaining to Spanish rule "Mas que Bueno" is where spain give to Northern italy the name and product to a its famous cheese "Mascarpone"(meaning "Better than Good" Today the Northern Italian plains supported by the Lodi River is where the best "Marscapone" is made and It was here where the practice of Coffee , grated chocolate, all sorts of Liqueurs were mixed with marscapone to give the "Tira mi su" its very distinctive base- Further more any serious pastry chef will always add the sponge on the base of a cake tin- then finish the cake with the Marscapone mixture, with fine chocolate grated on top- I could write pages on the subject matter-Using Finger biscuits is a cop out- This kind of information is not found on the net. Just like the rest of the classical recipe base of italy which is so corrupt today. Italian classical cookery is on the verge of vanishing all together, because too many cooks have simply spoiled the broth-

Chef Davide
Doctrine:Academy of Italian Cookery Rome
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think different people has different opinion about their favorite tiramisu style. My suggestion is to pick the one you like best, from your local restauratant or bakery, immitate and improve upon.

A few tips for engineers:

1. Instead of using egg yolk, get pasteurized egg yolk from supermarket. They are made from egg white but has egg yolk taste. No need to double boil, or worry about bacteria. Real egg yolk doesn't really give it any texture anyway.

2. Pasteurized egg white can be beaten for the cream too but I find using heavy cream is more enough.

3. Make 1/3 of a cup of gelatin mixture, and mix with the cream so that it become firm quicker when chilled. This is also helpful if you don't make whip cream often, and not good at folding it into the mascapone.

4. WHen sifting the cocoa powder, tap the sifter with your finger, instead of "shaking" it while holding it. You get a better control.

For those who want to impress people:

5. Try not to put to much cocoa power (after regrigeration as another blogger mentioned), leave the white cream visible. Cocoa powder is bitter. You can melt some semi-sweet chocolate bar, and use a folk or chopstick, and drip them across the pieces before serving.

6. Kahlua is a good coffee liquer to use. I usually add 1 teaspoon to the coffee, and 1 teaspoon to the creame.

7. Get the soft lady finger instead of the dry and hard one. Lay the lady fingers down and brush them with coffee/liquer instead of dipping them. That way you can control the amount of liquid they soak up and they won't break apart.

8. Last but not least, get a cheese cake tray which you can sprung open on the side. Easier to present and to serve. Once you cut it into pieces, you can immitate how it is served in restaurant too. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all:
Here,s my 2 cents.
I recently made a tiramisu that was quite similar to this for a work function. I too went to a local italian store and purchased several double expresso. The recipe used marsala in the zabalione and brandy in the expresso to soak. The expresso was definately stronger and more predominate than any I have had in a restaurant, but I personally really liked it and think this is probably were the original "pick me up" came from! As I down side I have become quite adicted to expresso which I always assumed would be too strong to enjoy, but the Italian kind has quite a smooth body to it.
Everyone seemed to enjoy/consume it, but next time I will probably try a more moderate recipe for a crowd and keep this one for true tiramisu afficianados.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find using pound cake instead of ladyfingers to be much better tasting.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use less-sweet custard (3 egg yolks, RAW, beaten into 8 oz mascarpone with 1/4 cup plus 1 TBSP sugar, whip 3 egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into cheese mixture). I usually make up for the lower sugar by adding Frangelico hazelnut liqueur to the coffee for the sponge.

I don't think ladyfingers have quite enough body. I use thin slices of sponge cake, and drizzle the coffee mixture over instead of dunking the cake.

A really cool variation is to make a pan of brownies and use crumbled brownies for the sponge layer. Totally non-authentic, but my husband loves it.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Chef Davide, thanks for telling us about your brother. Given your family's expertise you should have shared a recipe with the group. It would have enriched our souls.

For what it's worth
I use a simpler recipe for tiramisu than the ones i've read about here, and if you like instead of savoiardi (lady fingers) you can use sponge cake and put it in a round cake tin, heart-shaped, rectangular, whatever floats your boat because it all goes down the same way:

1.5 packages of savoiardi (or as many as it takes)
500g mascarpone
4 eggs, separated
sugar to taste
vecchia romagna to taste
instant espresso powder dissolved in hot water...enough to get the job done (or quanto basta for davide)

mix sugar, mascarpone and yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater. add liquor to taste, and i strongly advise using SOME sort of liquor (like Vecchia Romagna) otherwise it's flat.

in a separate bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to hard peaks (but not dry).

fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, careful not to deflate the egg whites

line the base of a dish with the savoiardi, dipping each one in espresso, but not too long or else as it sits they will become soggy, and not too briefly or they will stay crunchy in the center.

cover with a layer of mascarpone/egg mixture.


cover and put in refrigerator for 24 hours or at least overnight. this allows the mascarpone mixture to set, and allows the savoiardi to 'steep'.

right before serving, if you want, you can sprinkly cocoa on top.

I usually use one 8x8 dish and then fill up small containers like the mascarpone containers for individual portions to put in the freezer for another date.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. A cooking site for people like me. Cool. Quick question about the espresso. Do the traditionalists/ itailians do a long shot for the espresso-that is, do they let the water go through the espresso for longer than the normal 22 seconds-or do they use a full powered shot?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Italian and I found really great/funny to hear about people going to purchase expressos to a bar to make the Tiramisu. I think most of the Italian folks just prepare the coffee at home using a normal Italian coffee machine (caffettiera:,
type "napoletana":
Using your own caffettiera, you have the freedom to tune the ratio coffee/water as much as you like and make a tiramisu with a strong or less strong coffee taste, according to the guests you have and your mood and so
on. About using Nescafe... well, I would not comment on that.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:15 pm    Post subject: tiramisu Reply with quote

Used your recipe, well, almost....the basics at least. Didn't have Marsala and didn't feel like making a liquor run, so I used some lovely Amaretto instead. Made the custard the same way you did, but kept running back to the computer to check if I was doing everything in the right order. Used strong coffee with a teaspoon of natural raspberry flavoring, and dipped and layered the works....sprinkled the top with cocoa and also grated a bit of dark chocolate over that. We licked the bowl, the beaters, the spoon, the whip, and wiped the bowl with a leftover ladyfinger!! Haven't been into the finished product yet, but the previews were fabulous!!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

youre simple recipe looks extremly close to mine.

only a few drops of lemon (freshes the meal a little up) are added in my version.

and keep in mind,

as all easy - low quantity containing recepies: they live from the quality of the ingrediences.

fresh bio - eggs
best mascarpone avaible (not galbani)
best marsala (normally is used a "marsalla all“uovo)
best fingerbisquits (best are home-made)
best espresso (not lavazza)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:51 pm    Post subject: italian? Reply with quote

hi, i was in rome over the weekend and i ordered some my surprise, it did not come in a cake like form or in the long form you made it here, but a pile of layers, almost rectangular...obviously it was great but i suppose it has less to do with the shape and more to do with the preparation...still, does anyone know how to make a tiramisu like that?
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Tiramisu Reply with quote

Your recipe sounds easy enough, But i have also heard of people Kalhuha for the alcohol Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:57 am    Post subject: just a question... Reply with quote

im not a fan of cheeses so i just wanna ask. can you make this with a substitue for the cheese?
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:45 am    Post subject: Re: just a question... Reply with quote

Ravensbane25 wrote:
im not a fan of cheeses so i just wanna ask. can you make this with a substitue for the cheese?

Not really... without mascarpone cheese the texture wouldn't come out right. You could substitute with American cheese cheese that's been whipped and blended with more whipped cream to lighten it up, but that's not a great substitution. Mascarpone cheese has very little cheesiness and mixed with the whipped cream, sugar, and alcohol, I doubt you'll dislike the taste. Do you have trouble with restuarant or store bought tiramisu (if so, maybe you should just avoid tiramisu - or use all whipped cream for an extremely light version)
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:02 pm    Post subject: recipes & history Reply with quote

hello there,
i am a.. "traveling cook", and i love to study history of food.

Falling hazardously on this site (ouch!) i was rather surprised by the amount of informations you gathered on this subject.

Sadly, it often happens that people trust the information they find first the most, and this leads sometime to a little mistakes..

Mind if I make some correction?
Feel free to check them out by yourself, it is the best way to make sure you are not beeing abused.

The "zuppa inglese": it was made by the napolitans at first, in honour of admiral Nelson, when he came to help them.

Basicly they wanted to prepare a dessert as close as possible to the english "trifle", and they just trasformed the name consequently.

So, as you can see, it has very little to do with Treviso..

The basic about tiramisu: it was born as a "mousse", and this sentence alone explains much of the recipe: raw egg yolks will be whipped with sugar, and the amount of sugar will be enough to "cook" them.

Once white, they will be added the mascarpone cheese, and all will be whipped energically until the whole mass will get fluid first, then thick again (hey, the fat and tensio-actives are more than in a double cream!).

Whipped cream was added by people intending to prepare a cheaper version: in the "original" it was not used.

The base IS made of large "lady fingers", never genoise, wich was invented in spain by an italian cook invited there, who intended to make a cake using an already existing recipe of biscuits (he named it "pan di spagna" at first, and the name still lives on in Italy. But soon after, the spanish named it "genoise", and this name took over in the rest of the world. Later, to make a distinction between "biscuit" and "genoise", it was "decided" that the first was made with yolks and whites beaten separately, while the second had whole eggs whipped together)..

See how the circle closes?

Then the liquor goes into the coffe.

In this way, you do get a softer, less bitter taste (and less caffeine), and the very light taste of mascarpone cheese remains uncovered.

Don't forget that this was a restaurant pudding, it had to be "mild", or people could have disliked it. A serious pastry chef would't take the risk to make just one too strong layer, as he wants the flavours to be balanced.

finally, the cocoa powder: people say "sprlinke it at last moment or it will get wet". True, but at the same time, by staying wet, it will prevent the surface to dry into a chewy crust, and this is a far better option that justifies its presence while the tiramisu rests.

Just my.. "2 lire"..Smile

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