I was so proud the first time I prepared homemade tiramisu that I almost ordered a chef’s toque. After a little bit of cursing, I learned how to fold and separate (um, dudes, that’s quite different from lift and separate, which I learned about long ago, if you’re following me here), I beat the hell out of everything, ladled it out perfectly, let it sit overnight, and our guests thought it was glorious. What a cook, what a man, what a plan, Panama.
The very next day I opened our freshly-arrived copy of La Cucina Italiana, the bitchin Italian recipe mag, to find a feature on – no lie! – tiramisu! I started to read with great excitement until I completed the first frickin paragraph: tiramisu is such a SIMPLE RECIPE that it’s frequently the FIRST ONE Italian CHILDREN learn to prepare, so we’re going to tart up this INCREDIBLY EASY-TO-MAKE DISH with a few variations, thusly… All I could say was, vaffanculo, La Cucina Italiana! You just rained on my festa!
So now I’m sneered at by a magazine. Therefore, I will prove it wrong by showing you just how tough this dish is to make for normal guys. Behold my tiramisu recipe — with some genuine tips youse can use!
featuring Tom’s tips
3 large eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
1 (8-oz) container marscapone
Pinch of salt
½ cup very cold heavy cream
2 cups brewed espresso or very strong brewed coffee [Tom: just triple the grounds], cooled to room temp
2 Tsp sweet Marsala wine
18 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers) [Tom: if the neighborhood grocery doesn’t have them, try Whole Foods or Fairway. If you can’t find them, forget this recipe and have some pudding for dessert instead]
¼ cup good bittersweet chocolate shavings (not unsweetened; shavings made with a vegetable peeler) or 2 Tsp unsweetened cocoa powder [Tom: hey. Kid. C’mere. Don’t look around, you’re fine. Let my boyz do the watchin. Now, kid. Do yourself a favor and just buy a honkin tin of Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate powder and fuggeddabouddit: the only person who will know the diff is your wife, who’ll be all upset because you didn’t grind any bittersweet shavings, but your diners will still call you a genius, and you’ll have enough of this stuff to avoid shaving for about five years’ worth of tiramisu. I’m just sayin, my brutha]
Beat together yolks and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in marscapone until just combined.
With cleaned beaters, beat whites and salt in another bowl until whites just hold soft peaks. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar a little at a time, beating, then continue to beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. [Tom: if you do not know how to separate eggs, find out right now, or else have some ice cream tonight, because this recipe will not work otherwise, and by this point you will already have found out. If you still do not know, throw everything away, b/c you have already ruined your silly attempt at tiramisu.]
Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters [Tom: no kidding: no water, not even a drop!] until it just holds soft peaks. Gently but thoroughly fold cream into marscapone mixture, then fold into whites. [Tom: get your wife to show you what “folding” food means.]
Stir together espresso and Marsala in a shallow bowl. Dip one ladyfinger in espresso mixture, soaking it for about 4 seconds on each side [Tom: much too long: these bad girls suck up the coffee instantly], and transfer to an 8-inch-square glass baking dish (1-quart capacity). Repeat with 8 more ladyfingers, trimming them [Tom: CRAMMING them! You’re welcome] as needed to fit snugly into bottom of dish. Spread half of marscapone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and marscapone mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 6 hours. [Tom: You don’t have to, but if you don’t let this sit overnite some ladyfinger ends may be crunchy…not what you want.]
Just before serving, sprinkle with chocolate. [Tom: HAAAAAAAH! That trusty Ghirardelli tin! Sit back and enjoy, and don’t forget to take yer bows!]
P.S. When the wife suggests spooning your tiramisu into a “trifle bowl” rather than “an 8-inch-square glass baking dish,” either ask what in the heck that is, or else get her to haul it out her own dadburn self! You will then have a curved dessert rather than the flat one shown in the photo up top. Think of it now as a pie. The best deep-dish pie you will ever eat in your whole frickin life.