Oh the memories of tiramisu. I grew up eating it so much. Tiramisu is such a sophisticated dessert, yet so simple to make. The trick is really to follow a few rules to the T, and you will always get it right.
I remember that we often would double the recipe growing up whenever we would make it, yet I could never eat enough of it.
Tiramisu DOES have raw eggs.
I make mine with BARLEY powder or CHOCOLATE COCOA, but not coffee. I find the barley powder in the latin food section of supermarkets. One good brand is called PERO. It’s toasted barley, crushed into powder. It’s very flavorful, and one of the closest tastes to coffee without being coffee. A lot of italian often drink it as a coffee substitute. I prefer this to the cocoa powder because it’s a little bitter, which balances out well with the sweetness of the cream.
My recipe does NOT have whipping cream. Whipping cream can make it extra creamy. When adding whipping cream to the original recipe you will end up with more cream, even in between the laters. Some people love the extra creamy texture. But keep in mind that it can also kind of give it that too much cream taste that can make you feel a bit queasy after a few bites. I also find that the reason why tiramisu tastes so good is because is made with MASCARPONE CHEESE. This kind of cheese is similar to cream cheese in texture, but has a much richer taste. In fact it does not have any of that sour cream taste from cheese that cream cheese still has. Mascarpone cheese has a much more delicate taste almost like confectioned sugar.
I have found that when adding whipping cream to this more thicker and delicate tasting cheese, the overall tiramisu ends up tasting a bit less flavorful. Like a watered down lemonade, that’s what whipping cream does when mixed with mascarpone cheese.
Recipe for Tiramisu with Barley and Mascarpone cheese
- 3 eggs
- 3-4 tbsp sugar
- 1 225 gr. mascarpone cheese
- 1 box lady fingers
- 3 tbsp barley powder
- 2 cups hot water
Begin by cracking open the 3 eggs and dividing the white from the yokes.
The rule with the eggs for tiramisu is to use 1 egg for every 100 grams of mascarpone cheese. As you’ll discover most tubs in the use come as a 225 gram size or 250 grams. Because it’s a but higher than our ratio, I like to use one extra egg.
Place the yokes in a large size bowl, and the whites in a medium sized bowl.
This part is extremely important that it is done right since if any particles of the yokes remain with the whites, the whites will not rise properly.
Begin by beating the whites with an electric mixer until whites are white and foamy. They will turn real fluffy like clouds and stick to the whisks.
Next up, add the sugar to the yokes and quickly begin to whip with the electric mixer. As a rule of thumb I like to add 3 to 4 spoonfuls. Italians like to often cook without measuring. I measured the exact amount out of convenience. But what you are looking for is to beat the yokes super fast with the sugar so the sugar doesn’t melt, but rather starts to whip with the yokes forming a light pale yellow cream that will double almost in size. If after mixing for 30 seconds you are not achieving this result, you keep adding a spoonful of sugar one at a time until you can tell that the cream is nice and thick and is whipping all together. Hence the reason why it’s hard to tell what exact amount of sugar will do this, but it’s done rather by adding one spoonful of sugar at a time. As a rule of thumb you won’t need more than 5 to 6 spoonfuls for this recipe.
Next up, open the mascarpone cheese and lightly mix it inside the container. This allows it to soften up and turn nice and smooth so it won’t clamp up on the next step. Scoop the mascarpone cheese inside the bowl with the yokes and egg cream. Gently whip all ingredients together until they are nice and smooth. Do this part at a lower speed because if you over whip the mascarpone cheese you will end up with some granules all over the batter.
Now it’s time to add the egg whites to the rest of cream. Gently fold them in with a spoon or an electric mixer on low speed. You are only gently mixing everything together until ingredients are fully incorporated but no extra mixing is required since it will cause the whites to lose all that air and fluff inside and make your cream lose volume and turn runny.
For this part you will a deep and wider bowl. Fill it with 2 cups of water and add to it a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa powder or barley. Now this part is where you get to be your own chef. You could add 3 spoonfuls or 5 depending on how bitter you’d like your tiramiuse. You may taste the drink to see if it’s too watered down or nice and rich like a cup of barley or hot cocoa would taste.
Open your lady fingers and dip them completely inside the water one at a time. The time you will dip them will vary depending on where you live. I have found that if I have made tiramisu in a place with high humidity, if I dip my lady fingers in the barley mixture for longer than a quick second, the final product will be super runny. But whenever I have made tiramisu in the desert, I could dip them for a whole three seconds and unless they are actually coming out wet and nicely soaked until the center, the final tiramisu will come out a bit dry. So you may need to try different times before getting your cookies to the right moistness wherever you live. Don’t quit after the first try.
Grab your lady fingers and lay them across a 9 by 13 pan or a 9 by 9 is best for this recipe. You’ll want to then use 1/2 of your batter next to make a nice layer on top of that first row.
Continue dipping each lady finger cookie. You may need to make more barley or cocoa drink as you go if you run out. Then add a second layer of cream. This recipe will yield about two rows’ worth of lady fingers and a total of 2 layers of cream. Plan ahead as to save enough cream for each layer. So start with a layer of cookies, then a layer of cream, another layer of cookies, and another layer of cream.
Finally top the last layer of cream by sprinkling a little bit of cocoa powder or the barley powder all over the top. Not too much or you’ll end up inhaling it while eating it and have a coughing fit.
Cover with surround wrap and allow the dessert to refrigerate overnight.
Since this dessert is not cooked it has to be refrigerated at all times and should be consumed in 2-3 days.
And trust me is worth waiting for it to sit a little bit in the refrigerator since it will taste a lot more moist and complete. I would at least always let it sit for a few hours before eating it.
M. Serena Essuman