One of the best parts of an Italian restaurant's menu is the desserts. Italian desserts are rich, flavorful, and lightly sweet. The subtle sweetness and the use of things like ricotta or Mascarpone cheese set these desserts apart from the sticky, sweet desserts of American cuisine. If you've been looking for the perfect finish to your family's pasta night this week, opting for an Italian dessert may be just the thing to draw everybody back to the kitchen. Here's a look at how to make the Italian classic tiramisu.
What is Tiramisu?
Tiramisu is an Italian semifreddo, which means it is a dish served cold but not from the freezer. This dish is an espresso-laced, ladyfinger-and-custard treat that's creamy, cool, and flavorful. The delicate flavors and the addition of cocoa powder make it a hit for people of all ages. While you might try tiramisu at your local Italian restaurant and think it too complicated to make at home, don't let it deter you. It's easier than you think.
Gather the Ingredients
Start by gathering everything you'll need for the dish. That way, you can just assemble the whole thing start to finish.
- 12 ounces of espresso
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Four egg yolks
- 4 ounces Marsala wine
- 16 ounces Mascarpone cheese
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 4 dozen Italian ladyfingers
Prepare the Components
Start by dissolving 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the espresso. Refrigerate the mixture so that it cools while you're preparing the rest. Put the egg yolks into a heat-resistant bowl, like a metal mixing bowl. Whisk the yolks until they are light and foamy. Whisk in the sugar and the wine until the mixture is well blended.
Heat some water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the bowl with the egg yolk mixture over the heat, creating a double-boiler. Gently whisk the mixture until it starts to thicken and bubble gently. Once it starts bubbling, remove it from the heat.
Whip the cream in a cold bowl until it thickens to a whipped cream consistency. It should form peaks that stay upright when you pull the beaters out. While it's whipping, use a whisk to mix and soften the Mascarpone cheese. Work in the egg yolk custard until it's thoroughly combined. Add the whipped cream and fold it in gently.
Assemble the Dish
Soak ladyfingers in espresso and line them up on the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Once you have a full layer of espresso-soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of the dish, spread half of the whipped cream mixture on the top. Repeat the ladyfinger process with the other half of the ladyfingers, espresso and whipped cream mixture. Then, dust the top of the dessert with the cocoa powder. Put it into the refrigerator for about four hours before you serve it.
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