Food & Recipes - Tiramisu

THERE are many variations of tiramisu. It is Italy’s most popular dessert. No matter how it is presented, tiramisu is essentially made out of lady finger biscuits dipped in coffee and mascarpone cream.

Apparently, the name tiramisu means “pick me up”. You know, something that has the capability to make you happy. There is also the preconception that tiramisu came about to save old cake and cold coffee from going to waste.

Whatever its origins, it is a marvellous, sophisticated and relatively simple dessert to make. Especially for one who does not have an oven at home!

Some Chef prefers to use chocolate sponge cake and espresso.

“Simply because it will enhance the flavours. Do remember that the mascarpone cheese has a subtle flavour.

“It is best to keep a tiramisu recipe simple. Don’t mix too many things into it. Alcohol such as amaretto, kahlua or brandy can be added. I recommend simply soaking the sponge rather than the mascarpone cream,” he said.

You will need:
  • 200g chocolate sponge, bought from bakery
  • 200g brewed espresso coffee
  • 500g mascarpone cheese (cream)
  • 100g sugar
  • 500g whipping cream
  • 2 large eggs
Note: This is a fun dessert to experiment with. You can do so by adding onto the layers canned strawberries, cherries, blueberries or anything your heart desires! Kids also like it when you throw in coloured hardshell candies like Smarties.

1. Use a cool bowl to whip cream until it is semi hard in consistency. Then chill it while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Beat the mascarpone cream with sugar until it is soft with a spatula or a wooden spoon. The final texture should be soft and shiny which means the sugar is diluted and has mixed well.

3. Break both eggs into a separate bowl. Add and fold the eggs bit by bit into the mascarpone and sugar mixture. Fold these two well together.

4. Now take out the chilled whipped cream and fold that into the mascarpone mixture.

5. Slice up your sponge cake and soak it in the espresso.

6. Pour the first layer of mascarpone mixture into a bowl.

7. Place the sliced and espresso soaked sponge cake on top of the first layer of masacarpone mix. Brush on some more espresso onto the sponge layer if you’d like (or in some cases, brandy or amaretto), depending on your taste.

8. Keep repeating the layers of mascarpone mix and soaked sponge cake slice until you almost reach the rim of the bowl.

9. While most people sprinkle some good cocoa powder atop the readied tiramisu, Chef Joe has an even better idea: simply chop up the leftover sponge cake into chunky bits.

10. Then simply sprinkle them on top of the tiramisu.

11. Now it’s ready to be chilled for a couple of hours until it becomes firm, before your guests arrive!

12. Before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar on top to make it prettier.

HERE’S how to decorate a glass bowl that contains your tiramisu. Melt some of your favourite chocolate by double-boiling it. Using a paper cone, pipe the melted chocolate onto the sides of the glass bowl. Form some pretty squiggly lines along the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then chill the bowl for a few minutes.

SOME tiramisu tips :

1. Soak strong-flavoured ingredients such as coffee, liqeur or liquor in the sponge cake rather than mixing them together in the mascarpone. This is to avoid spoiling the cheese’s flavours.

2. Do not whip cream at room temperature or use a warm bowl. This will only result in badly-whipped cream. The warmth will not allow for the cream to ‘rise’.

3. Use 35 per cent whipping cream as it will produce a very smooth cream and a fragrant taste.

4. If you do not like the idea of tiramisu served in a big bowl, just spoon the mascarpone mix into small individual cups and layer them with appropriately-sized soaked sponge. Your tiramisu will look like the ones served in fancy restaurants.

5. It helps if your kitchen is not overly warm. A cool, dry space is ideal when making desserts. A temperature of between 18ºC and 24º C is preferred.