Most tiramisu recipes add a splash of marsala wine or rum to the espresso that the ladyfingers are dipped into. The liqueurs add a little extra dimension to the coffee and give the tiramisu some extra complexity. While I enjoy a splash of rum or Baileys in my tiramisu, you need to use more than a splash to really change the flavor of the dessert. When I was putting together this wonderful Frangelico Tiramisu, I was generous with my liqueur to ensure you could taste it in every single bite.
Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur that is made in Italy. It comes in an unusual bottle that is shaped like a Franciscan friar, which sets it apart from other liqueurs on the shelf. The liqueur is made by soaking real hazelnuts, vanilla beans and other ingredients in a base spirit to draw out their flavor, then the flavored liquid is sweetened and filtered bring being bottled. I added Frangelico both to the soaking liquid for the ladyfinger layers and to the fluffy cream that makes up the rest of the tiramisu. You’ll get this wonderful nuttiness in with the vanilla, cream and coffee flavors that makes this tiramisu very addictive.
I made this in four layers where most tiramisus only use two or three because the ladyfingers I used were quite thin and the dessert didn’t have much height at only two layers. I recommend making three layers, but if your ladyfingers are very thin like mine, feel free to go for the full four layers. The cream is a no-cook recipe that is light and mousse-like, with just a hint of tang from the mascarepone. Since it feels lighter than some traditional tiramisus, this is a wonderful summer dessert to serve at a party.
If you want to make the presence of hazelnuts in this tiramisu a little more obvious, I recommend sprinkling a few chopped hazelnuts over the top of the dish before serving. For me, tiramisu is one dessert that should be soft throughout, so I prefer not to add nuts to mine and finish it off only with a dusting of cocoa powder. The tiramisu should be refrigerated until ready to serve and can be prepared 1-2 days in advance.
8-oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups heavy cream, cold*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1/2 cup Frangelico liqueur, divided
approx 30-36 ladyfingers
unsweetened cocoa powder, for finishing
In a large mixing bowl, beat mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and vanilla at high speed until mixture is fluffy and holds stiff peaks. Stir in 1/4 cup Frangelico until smooth.
In a small, shallow bowl, combine coffee and 1/4 cup Frangelico. Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture to let it soak up some of the liquid (2-3 seconds) and place in the bottom of a 8×8-inch baking dish. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with the ladyfingers in a single layer. Do not soak the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture to the point where they fall apart.
When there is a full layer of ladyfingers, spread one third of the cream mixture on top of them. Repeat with another layer of soaked ladyfingers and another third of the cream mixture. Add third and final layer of soaked ladyfingers, followed by the rest of the cream mixture. Spread cream into a flat, even layer. Dust with cocoa powder, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.