11 Sep Tiramisu For You
Recently, I took a DNA test and found out (to the surprise of my entire family) that I am part Italian. This led us on a giant selvaggio inseguimento inutile (the internet told me that was Italian for “wild goose chase”) to figure out where the Italian bloodline came from. Four DNA tests later and we have yet to pinpoint the origin of the Italian, but everyone can now rest easy knowing that there is a 99% chance that my parents are in fact biologically related to me.
In honor of my mystery Italian relative, I decided to make some tiramisu. When I tackled this recipe, I was incredibly surprised at the simplicity of the dessert–just a handful of ingredients and little time created one of my favorite dishes. I suppose I had always assumed that it would be much more difficult to make.
I started by baking my own ladyfingers. Since I was going to be making individual tiramisus in bourbon glasses, I wanted to have round ladyfingers rather than the oblong ones that you buy from the store. I used the below recipe and piped the batter in circles (with the help of a round cookie cutter) onto the baking sheet. I found that it was very important to not mix the batter more than necessary.
This next part of the recipe requires lots of yelling in Italian while gesturing your hands dramatically. That’s not stereotypical at all, right? But seriously, I’m Italian now so I can say that kind of stuff. Just kidding I don’t actually mean it. When gathering my ingredients below, my mom and I made a trip to our local Italian shop called “Lotsa Pasta” for some genuine espresso and mascarpone cheese. For the coffee beans, we used mostly the “Italian blend” but mixed in some mocha beans (because I love chocolate). They had a coffee grinder there, which is a good thing considering the fact that I own neither a grinder nor an espresso maker. In order to make my espresso, I actually took all of the ground coffee, put it in a coffee filter, and poured boiling water through it until I had a cup and a half of very strong coffee.
For the garnish, all you need is a double boiler, a heat-safe decorating bottle of some sort, baker’s chocolate, and parchment paper. After melting down my semi-sweet chocolate and pouring it into my bottle, I piped a whole bunch of weird shapes. I made way more than necessary because I wasn’t sure they would survive being pulled off of the parchment paper later. Then I refrigerated them overnight until I was ready to serve. The chocolate shapes peeled off easily but melted pretty quickly after serving them.
Overall, I was incredibly pleased with the results. I was concerned that my espresso was too strong (I’m not much of a coffee drinker so it was difficult for me to know the difference) but it turned out to be the perfect amount of coffee flavor when paired with the mild mascarpone. My one piece of advice to anyone attempting this is to make sure that your ladyfingers don’t get soggy–it makes for a soggy tiramisu and nobody wants that.
I must say, the Italians certainly knew what they were doing when it comes to desserts. I’m proud of my Italian heritage and glad that I could celebrate it through baking. Soon, I’ll have to celebrate my Irish side with some Guinness cupcakes. Until then, ciao!