Some desserts are classics and never get taken off the menu, year after year. Other desserts follow trends, going in and out of style and from being everywhere to nowhere in the blink of an eye. The classics get passed over for trendier desserts with regularity since many diners know that the classic will be good and can’t resist the novelty and the potential of the newer desserts. It is probably for this very reason that I didn’t have tiramisu for years, though it was once one of my very favorite desserts. Once I realized that it had been so long, however, I decided that things needed to change. I made a tiramisu.
The appeal of tiramisu, for me, is that it is an easy make-ahead dessert. I keep my recipe simple by using a no-cook mascarpone cream and by using store-bought ladyfingers. Mine were from Trader Joe’s, but any quality brand will work well. You’ll need about 30 for this dessert, but since sometimes I’m able to squeeze a couple more into the pan, you might want to make sure you have extras. The dessert should be made the night before you intend to serve it to let the flavors meld together. When finished, the tiramisu has a light and creamy texture that seems to melt right into your mouth. Since the ingredients are rich, it is very filling and can be served in small portions.
For this particular batch, I wanted to impart a mocha element, rather than going for a straight coffee one. I did this by adding a generous amound of shaved dark chocolate between the layers and by adding creme de cacao into the coffee dip for an extra chocolate flavor that didn’t change the consistency of the dip. The overall effect is subtle, but delicious.
8-oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature*
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
2 tbsp creme de cacao
1 tbsp dark rum
approx 30 ladyfingers
2-oz dark chocolate, shaved
In a large mixing bowl, beat mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and vanilla until light and fluffy.
In a small, shallow bowl, combine coffee, creme de cacao and rum. Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture and place in the bottom of a 8×8-inch baking dish. The bottom layer should have about 15 ladyfingers. Do not soak the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture.
When there is a solid layer of ladyfingers, spread half of the cream mixture on top of them. Top with 1 oz dark chocolate shavings. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers, cream mixture and chocolate.
Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
Serve with additional chocolate shavings.
*Note: You may substitute cream cheese for the mascarpone, or use a combination of both, if you wish.