My friends know that I like all kinds of foods and that I am not the typical Italian that only cooks Italian food at home. I actually love so many foods from various culinary traditions and I’m always happy to experiment. Yet, I must admit that sometimes I like to show off some classics of the Italian cuisine, and this applies in particular when I have people over for dinner. In a way they expect it, and I don’t blame them. Being served real Italian food at home is a luxury, when Italian food abroad is always fancy restaurant material. How does tiramisù for dessert sound?
It turned out that tiramisù really ruled my dinner with Canadian-Swedish guests. They really liked it, and I was very pleased with that. Instead of making a traditional big tiramisù in a casserole dish and then slicing it when serving it, I decided to go with individual portions and made mini tiramisu dessert cups. Basically, what I did was preparing single-serving tiramisù in glasses. I have a slight obsession for a set of short glasses I bought some time ago. They’re incredibly minimal, yet I am finding them so useful for any sort of recipe, really. They work great as dessert cups, and double as cocktail or whisky glasses in style.
Instead of using the more traditional Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers) I made my own sponge cake and cut it with a cookie cutter into smaller discs that would fit the glasses.
Tiramisu mascarpone cream recipe:
- 2 eggs
- 200 g mascarpone
- 2 tbsp sugar
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. For best results, the eggs should be at room temperature. Beat the whites with a hand mixer at medium-high speed until hard peaks form. Just before stopping, when the egg whites are already quite firm, add 1 tsp sugar and beat for one more minute. Set aside, and take another bowl.
In this other bowl, combine the yolks and the rest of the sugar and mix at medium speed. I generally use the same whisks without washing them, as the egg whites will later be incorporated in the mascarpone cream anyway. It’s just important to begin with the whites, as for best results you need to make sure your whisks are clean and dry. After about 2-3 minutes, when the sugar will have dissolved and the yolks will have turned paler, add the mascarpone and continue mixing with the hand mixer. When the mixture looks homogeneous, set the mixer aside.
Now add a few spoonfuls of egg whites to the mascarpone cream and fold in gently. Keep adding more, always being super gentle and making light folding movements. Adding the beaten egg whites will give the cream a light airy texture. It is not necessry to add all the egg whites. Depending on the size of the eggs used, the yield might be too much. Stop whenever you feel like it is enough. I rarely add all of it, always leaving a couple of spoonfuls of leftover egg whites. The mascarpone cream for tiramisu is ready.
Now it’s all about assembling the tiramisu cups, alternating layers of sponge cake and layers of mascarpone cream. Also in this passage remember to handle the cream with care, as knocking the air out of it will make it more runny. Remember to moisten the sponge cake with sweetened coffe, this needs to be done in every layer. I spread a thin layer of cream over the last sponge cake disc, then dusted the top with unsweetened cocoa powder, the traditional tiramisù finish.
Traditional tiramisu is made with Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers). Those are drier than sponge cake, and might require more coffee dunking. Generally the whole texture of tiramisu should be soft, and no harder bits should be encountered. The trick is all in adding the right quantity of coffee in order to soften whatever biscuit is being used. Or in using sponge cake, as I like to do.
An alternative, when using sponge cake, would be to make a tiramisu cake. In that case you want to ensure that the cream stays as firm as possible, as the cake is supposed to stay firm and not collapse, and there is no cup or pan to contain it. When I make tiramisu cake I generally use less eggs and add whipped cream instead of beaten egg whites, for its extra firmness. For more details you can check out my tiramisù cake recipe.