Let’s start with an apology. To your previous go-to source for tiramisu, I’m sincerely sorry. Whether it’s your local cafe, the corner bakery, that amazing restaurant you go to on special occasions, or your beloved Italian relative. Once you’ve make this tiramisu, you’ll be ruined for all those others. Seriously.
The secret to this silky, creamy, addictively punchy dessert is the eggs. Specifically, whipped, uncooked egg yolks and whites. That’s right, we’re going to use raw eggs, and a bunch of ’em. Despite what you may have heard, raw eggs are generally safe to eat, especially when prepared at home in small batches. Here’s a good article on the benefits and risks of eating raw eggs.
Beyond the eggs, the other key to this dessert is the coffee mix. You’ll want to use a strong coffee for this pudding. My default is a pre-brewed coffee concentrate, which can now be found in most grocery stores. If you prefer, you can certainly use home-brewed coffee, the stronger the better.
I normally add some liquer to the coffee before dipping the ladyfingers; Kahlua is my favorite, since it intensifies the coffee flavor, but you can also use rum, brandy or just about any flavorful alcohol. If you want, you can skip the booze entirely without compromising the finished product. Bear in mind that the alcohol is not cooked out of this recipe, so use your discretion about giving it to kids (I do, and they love it). So, let’s review: raw eggs, coffee and alcohol in a dessert for the whole family. You still with me? Good! This really will change your life. Just be prepared to bring this dessert to every potluck, picnic, family dinner and office happy hour for the rest of your life.
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 16 oz mascarpone cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups strong coffee
- 2 Tbsp Kahlua, rum or other liquer (optional)
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Italian ladyfingers (Savoiardi)
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, combined with…
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Combine egg yolks, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar in a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add mascarpone cheese and blend until smooth. Next whip the egg whites to soft peaks, add remaining sugar and continue whipping to stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture, preserving as much of the egg white’s fluffiness as possible.
Combine the coffee, liquer and lemon zest in a shallow dish for cookie dipping. The ladyfingers will absorb liquid VERY quickly. As you build the dish, quickly roll the ladyfinger in the coffee mix to moisten it, but don’t let it rest in the liquid.
To assemble the dessert, spread a thin layer of custard on the bottom of your casserole pan, then place a layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers. Top the ladyfingers with approximately half the remaining custard mixture. Sprinkle the cocoa/cinnamon mix onto the custard. Repeat with ladyfingers, remaining custard and a final layer of cocoa/cinnamon.
Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.