When I worked in an Italian family restaurant in the North End of Boston, I remember the owner, Arturo, coming in to make his famous tiramisu for the week. The first thing he did was soak the ladyfingers in espresso and amaretto and let them sit before going to work on the perfect custard. He also knew that a real tiramisu needed at least 24 hours to come together, and was even better after a few days. Any less time didn't allow the flavors to mingle enough to give the dessert the legendary taste and texture it's known for.
Before this, I was certain there was no way to recreate a proper Italian tiramisu at home, but after watching Arturo go to work, I realized it's not as mystical as it seems! You too can have tiramisu without having to track down your nearest authentic Italian eatery. Just be careful - I've already warned you of its effects.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 6 egg yolks (~96g)
- 3/4 cup (150g) white sugar
- 2/3 cup (160mL) milk
- 1 1/4 cups (300mL) heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pound (950mL) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup (240mL) strong brewed coffee, room temperature (traditionally this would be espresso, and if you have access to that - do it!)
- 1/4 cup (60mL) amaretto, brandy, or rum (since that's what I already had)
- 6 ounces (170g) of ladyfinger cookies (my package was for 7 ounces. more cookies for me!)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Step 2: Custard
Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.
Boil gently for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Press cling wrap onto surface of custard and chill for 1 hour.
Step 3: Cream
Get custard out from refrigerator and whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture by hand until smooth.
Step 4: Ladyfingers
Spread ladyfingers in on a sheet or in a bowl and slowly pour coffee mixture over the cookies.
Step 5: Assemble
Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that.
Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa.
Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours to let the flavors blend into that classic tiramisu taste you know and crave. Trust me, if you eat it right away, you're going to be disappointed. Give it time to make the magic happen.