Beyond Dinner: Five-Ingredient Tiramisu

Ending a holiday meal with tiramisu is a good idea. Tiramisu means “pick me up,” and if you’ve indulged in some roast beef like we’re planning to, you’ll definitely need a pick me up after dinner!

Tiramisu is really popular on Italian menus, and so you’ve probably tasted your share of creamy, coffee-tasting goodness. Even though it’s such a simple dessert, we’ve found huge variation when we’ve eaten it in restaurants. It’s always a gamble of an order. When you make the dish at home, you get a chance to really see what it’s about–after all, that’s one of the best, most empowering parts of cooking.

At its base, tiramisu is a “lasagna” of coffee-soaked lady fingers, which grow spongelike as the dessert sits in the fridge, and a sweet and creamy filling. We make it from a combination of whipped cream, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, but traditionally the mixture can also contain whipped egg yolks and/or whites. In some recipes, the coffee is spiked with something boozy, like a sweet wine or some rum, before it’s brushed on the cookies.

To assemble the dish, you just layer lady fingers in a pan, then brush them with a lot of sweetened black coffee.

You whip some cream. Did you know it’s easier to whip cream if it’s really, really cold. Don’t take it out of the fridge til you’re ready to use. Combine that cream gently with mascarpone and sugar.

Then, you simply layer the cream-mascarpone mix on top of the first layer of ladyfingers, top the cream with more ladyfingers and the ladyfingers with more cream. A

At the end, it’s best to store in the fridge for an hour or more so that the flavors can meld and the cookies can soften into spongey goodness.

At the end, right before serving, just sprinkle with some cinnamon or cocoa powder–whatever you have on hand.

Festive! Perfect for holiday dinners, right? Here’s the recipe…

Tiramisu

INGREDIENTS
1 cup hot freshly brewed coffee
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
6 ounces lady finger cookies
1 cup heavy cream
16 ounces mascarpone
Cinnamon or cocoa powder, for garnish (optional)

Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the coffee, and stir to dissolve.

Whip the remaining sugar into the mascarpone in a large mixing bowl. Place the heavy cream in a second bowl and whip until it becomes stiff. Gently “fold” the whipped cream into the mascarpone.

In a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, layer half the lady fingers on the bottom, then brush generously with half of the coffee mixture. Allow a few minutes for the coffee to be absorbed by the cookies. Then, top with half of the whipped cream-mascarpone mixture. Layer the remaining lady fingers over the top, and brush them with the remaining coffee mixture (again, allow time for the coffee to be absorbed).  Top with the remaining whipped cream mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This dessert will get better as it chills and sits but can be served pretty quickly. Garnish with cocoa powder and/or cinnamon if you like.

Serves 8.

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