I debated posting this recipe. It's kind of a family recipe, although not from my family.
My aunt has a very good friend, an old italian woman, Aida, that she used to work with. She's watched her make this several times. Aida doesn't use measuring cups or measuring spoons, just her hands and her memory. Everything I've ever tasted at her house has been delicious.
This is not a way that I know how to cook or bake. I need recipes and measurements. And practice. But I can make this recipe. And it's delicious and people are always impressed, sometimes to the point where they don't believe I've made it. I think that's proof of a good recipe.
- 3/4 cup espresso (or strong coffee)
- 3/4 cup amaretto
- 6 eggs, with yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 16 oz mascarpone cheese
- 3-4 amaretto cookies, crushed (also found at World Market)
- unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting (I like the one at Trader Joe's)
I made this in an 8 x 8 pyrex dish and 2 mini loaf pans. This recipe doubles nicely as well.
Layout lady fingers in your dish, side by side so that there's no overlap. You may need to cut a few so that they fit and cover the bottom of the dish. You'll need two rows of these as you'll have two layers in the tiramisu. Set aside.
Mix espresso and amaretto together and set aside. (If you're not a huge fan of a strong coffee flavor, you can add just a bit of water. I wouldn't add more than 1/4 cup. Aida does not add water.)
In a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites until fluffy and stiff. This will take a few minutes on high. Set aside.
In separate mixer bowl, combine the yolks and sugar. Mix until incorporated. Add vanilla powder (you can use 1 tsp of vanilla extract if that's all you have, but I get a slightly different taste when I do). Add mascarpone cheese and mix until incorporated.
By hand, add the stiff egg whites to yolk mixture 1/3 at a time, just until combined. Make sure it's combined but don't over mix - you want the egg whites to stay fluffy.
Roll each lady finger in the espresso-amaretto mixture quickly and set in dish. This was one of Aida's secrets. Just roll each one once quickly so that they don't soak up too much liquid, otherwise they'll be too soggy. Do only one layer first.
Sprinkle crushed amaretto cookie over lady fingers. You don't need a lot. This helps soak up any excess liquid. Note - you may not need to use all the cookie crumbs.
Cover lady fingers with a little less than half and the crème mixture. Using a rubber spatula, spread the crème evenly. Follow the same steps above for the second layer. Note - I usually do the dish I'm going to serve first and then any extra I put in mini loaf pans. Depending on the mini pans, you may be able to fit three layers. It's better to have more cookie than crème.
Using a mesh strainer dust the top of the tiramisu with the cocoa powder - you can be generous, the crème will soak up some of it. Refrigerate overnight.
This is easiest cut cold, straight from the fridge. Rinse your knife or cake server between each slice for cleaner pieces. It's pretty to top with dark chocolate shavings and garnish with a few fresh raspberries. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
**Please note this post was not sponsored by World Market although now that I'm reading through it, maybe it should be!