In Italian, tirami-sù means “pull me up” which is in reference to the sugar and espresso in this light and luscious dessert. Similar to a trifle, tiramisù is a layered concoction of savoiardi (ladyfinger biscuits), whipped cream, mascarpone cheese and eggs. It can be served in individual glasses or a large bowl, preferably glass, to show off its fluffy layers. Traditionally, the ladyfingers are lightly dipped in espresso coffee and brushed with Marsala or Vin Santo, and then layered between clouds of mascarpone, whipped cream and egg custard. Variations exist as in the below recipe, as I omitted the raw egg and wine for a child-friendly dessert for a dinner party. Whether you choose this version or the more fortified adult version, this dessert is assured to pull you and your guests up.
1 cup strong espresso (de-caffeinated, optional)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 ladyfinger biscuits
2 tablespoons grated dark chocolate
Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk mascarpone cheese and whipping cream until thick and light. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, orange juice, zest and vanilla.
Dip ladyfingers in espresso mixture and cover the bottom of a glass bowl, rectangular serving dish or individual goblets. Cover with a layer of the mascarpone mixture. Sprinkle with some grated chocolate.
Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Garnish the top layer of mascarpone with grated chocolate.
Chill at least 4 hours and up to 8 before serving.
For a fortified adult version:
Add 2 tablespoons Marsala to espresso and sugar mixture.