There are a few dishes, over my years of making them, that I have gotten very good at making.
One such dish is my tiramisu.
Tiramisu is an Italian dessert, made traditionally with mascarpone cheese, and it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
The tiramisu I make, however, is made with ricotta and cream cheese. I do this partially because it is cheaper (mascarpone is expensive!) and partially because I like the texture a bit better. The mixture of the ricotta, which is coarse, and the cream cheese, which is smooth, makes for a stronger combination of flavour.
As an aside, when I make things, especially when I make things I’ve made many times before, I tend to improvise. Therefore, when I give you amounts, I’ll try to put notes in the margins where I might eyeball quantities, or where you can change things to flavour to taste.
When I make tiramisu for my family, I usually use a large, flat-bottomed dish. When I make it for dinner guests, I use glass bowls and arrange the cookies so they climb up the sides, and it looks quite nifty. Don’t be afraid to be creative here. You can cut the cookies to make them fit smaller spaces, or to elongate them. When you lay the cookies, put one layer horizontal, and the next, vertical, to make a different texture and look.
Finally, if you want to give some away without losing the aesthetic awesomeness of your creation, and you know how many you’re going to be giving away, don’t hesitate to build a single-serving tiramisu inside a clear plastic container.
2 cups hot, strong coffee
1 tbsp + 1/4 cup sugar
475g Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup light cream cheese
1 shot + 3 tbsp (ish) chocolate liqueur (I use Godiva White Chocolate)
3 egg whites
15-20 (ish) ladyfingers
2 cups and 1 tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 squares dark or milk chocolate
1. In a bowl, dissolve 2tbsp of sugar in coffee, add shot of liqueur, and refrigerate.
2. With mixer, blend ricotta, cream cheese and liqueur until very smooth. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. I recommend using an egg beater, as without it it will take a while. Add remaining sugar, until stiff peaks form. It should look almost like whipped cream.
4. Using spatula, gently fold the cheese mixture into the egg whites. I usually do this is three or four parts.
5. Put coffee in a flat bottomed bowl. Flip the cookie in the coffee once or twice, not allowing it to get too soft. If you squeeze it, it should not squish. It should retain some of its crunch.
6. Set out one layer of cookie over the bottom of your chosen dish. Spread approximately 1/4-1/2 inch of the cheese mixture on top.
7. Using a sieve, dust the top of the cheese with cocoa. Shave some of the chocolate on top.
8. Repeat steps 6&7. The top layer of cocoa should look consistently thick, and if you would like to make the chocolate shavings look a bit thicker, and a bit more ornate, go for it. Just remember, you don’t want to overpower the flavour of the tiramisu with tons of chocolate shavings.
9. Let set, cover, and set aside in fridge for at least 24 hours. While it is sitting, the cookies will absorb the flavours of the cake, and soften slightly. If you want to taste the cookie more, and have more of a crunch, you can lessen the time it sits. If you need to make this directly before you are going to serve it, but still want the cookies to be soft, add a bit more liqueur to the coffee, and let the cookie sit in the coffee a bit longer. Note that if you cover it with plastic wrap, it will sweat a bit.