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The origins of tiramisu have become somewhat difficult to trace over the years—but there is absolutely no denying how quickly Americans embraced this Italian classic in the 1980s.
The dessert is surprisingly easy to make at home: Not only is tiramisu very forgiving, but it actually benefits from being made ahead of time.
For this classic version, I kept things straightforward: eggs, sugar, mascarpone, espresso, ladyfingers and a dusting of cocoa powder. It picks up right where the 1980s left off.
To learn more, read "Buzz Chill."
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus chilling time
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 25 minutes, plus chilling time
3 eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
1½ cups mascarpone, slightly softened
1½ cups strong fresh black coffee or espresso, at room temperature
¼ cup dark rum
About 40 good-quality lady fingers
Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and gradually whisk in the sugar until pale yellow in color. Using a spatula, fold in the mascarpone; set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy peaks form. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture and set aside.
3. Pour the coffee into a wide, shallow bowl with the rum. Dip the lady fingers into the coffe-rum mixture just long enough to soften them, making sure they do not crumble apart, about 5 seconds each. Allow any excess liquid to drip out of the ladyfingers.
4. Arrange the ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9-inch round trifle dish or round baking dish until you have one single layer (you might need to break a few lady fingers in order to make an even layer). Spread a ⅓ of the mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers in an even layer. Repeat the process until you have 3 layers of ladyfingers and 3 layers of mascarpone filling. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.
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