Simply put, tiramisu is my Achilles heal. I can’t get enough of the espresso laced ladyfingers enveloped in a velvety zabaglione cream dusted with cocoa powder. It is so simple, yet so incredibly indulgent and the best part of it is that is super easy to put together since there is no baking required; only a little bit of assembly.
In Italian, tiramisu literally means “pick me up”, named for the high energy content (eggs, cream, and sugar) and the caffeine from the strong espresso coffee. Although many regions claim that tiramisu was invented by them, the widely accepted origin of this spectacular dessert dates back to 1971 at a restaurant called “Alle Beccherie” located in the town of Treviso in Veneto, Italy.
The brilliant idea of tiramisu is not in its technique of layering as we have seen this before in other desserts such as trifles. The novelty of it came from the combination of ingredients used – zabaglione cream, coffee, and chocolate. What could be a more perfect combination? Well…I think I have found an equally delicious combination…oranges and cream. It harks back to one of my favorite childhood treats and flavors – the orange creamsicle…vanilla ice cream enveloped in an orange flavored popsicle. I couldn’t think of a better idea then combining my nostalgic childhood indulgence and my all time favorite dessert of tiramisu into one spectacular dish. This is one of the reasons why I love tiramisu so much because you can really change it up with any combination you love or are craving.
The original tiramisu recipe combines raw egg yolks and sugar to make the zabaglione. I prefer, though, to heat the egg yolks with the sugar because I feel the sugar dissolves better and creates a more pleasing texture. You also don’t have to worry about any kind of salmonella contamination when the yolks are heated. In fact, when I was developing this recipe and deciding on whether to use uncooked vs. cooked zabaglione, I think I made three different versions in three days which meant my husband and I were happily eating tiramisu for a week…so were my colleagues and friends and I might have had the odd bowl for breakfast. Not a bad way to get in my fruit and dairy servings for the day!
In addition to the marscapone, I also add a bit of fresh whipped cream as it lightens up the mixture. I whip the marscapone until its light and creamy then I mix it with the cooled egg yolk mixture. Finally, I gently fold in the whipped cream into the mascarpone egg yolk mixture ensuring that it is well incorporated, but making sure not to over mix it.
Tiramisu is a great make ahead dessert and I always find it more delicious the next day. If you don’t have that much time, a couple of hours in the fridge will also do the job. I hope you like this beautifully simple yet delectably luxurious dessert as much as I do! Buon appetito!
- FOR THE ORANGE SYRUP:
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of the oranges)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Marsala wine or orange liquor
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup (70 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup (237 mL) of heavy cream
- 1 cup (225 grams) mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
- Roughly 200 grams (20 to 24 units) ladyfingers or savoirdi biscuits
- FOR THE GARNISH:
- ⅓ to ½ cup (50 to 75 grams) finely chopped pistacchios (unsalted)
- Orange slices (skin on)
- FOR THE ORANGE SYRUP:
- In an small bowl, combine the orange juice, sugar and marsala or orange liquor. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved and set aside.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- Place the egg yolks, sugar, and orange juice in a medium heatproof bowl and set over a bain marie (place the heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water making sure the bowl is not touching the water) and whisk constantly until the mixture has a thick, ribbony consistency and is light yellow in color (about 7 to 9 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly (about 10 to 15 minutes).
- Whisk the heavy cream with a hand or standing mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In another bowl mix the mascarpone cheese with the back of a spoon of wire whisk until soft and creamy.
- Add the cooled egg yolk mixture to the mascarpone mixture and combine well.
- Add the whipped cream to the egg yolk and mascarpone mixture and gently fold it in until it is well incorporated.
- ASSEMBLING THE TIRAMISU
- Dip the ladyfingers ver quickly (just a couple of seconds) into the orange syrup and line them in one layer in a 8 x8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish. If necessary, break a few ladyfingers in order to maybe a tightly fitting later.
- Spoon half of the filling over the ladyfingers.
- Repeat with a second layer of the orange syrup dipped ladyfingers, then the rest of the filling.
- Cover a refrigerate overnight or at least 2 to 3 hours.
- Serve it cold topped with chopped pistachios and sliced orange slices.
- FOR INDIVIDUAL GLASSES:
- spoon a dollop of the filling in the bottom of you glass or bowl. Break the ladyfinger into thirds and soak them briefly in the orange syrup and place them on top of the filling mixture.
- Repeat with layering filling and ladyfingers, creating two to three layers.
- To serve, top each glass with chopped pistachios and a twisted orange slice.