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  • Tiramisu

    Did you know that at some point in the history of Italy the Japanese invaded Italy, Tuscany in particular, and brought along with them and introduced to the cuisine starved Italians that delightful dessert known as TIRAMATSU?

    Oh, heavy, heavy sigh. As I type, I am still shaking my head in disbelief, so if my typing is a little wonky, please forgive me.

    This is what happens when men are allowed in kitchens. In Italy. Where the Japanese have NEVER invaded (except perhaps the Gucci and Fendi shops in Rome). The wonderful dessert of Tiramisu turns into Tiramatsu – which is apparently served in Florence in a beautiful church that has recently been compared to a Japanese Dessert Warehouse. Oh, ye worshipers at Santa Maria Novella, please send a pox his way!  (now don’t start sending hate mail, fellas, about men in kitchens. It’s nearly the same as your thoughts on women drivers!)

    A dear, OLD friend recently went on a dream vacation with his family to Tuscany, and in the midst of this trip a cooking lesson was had at the villa they were staying in. Would have been fun to join in, but quite frankly the narration of it was hilarious.  When asked what they were making, the response received was Tiramatsu. When laughing followed that answer, my reply was … “Japanese dessert?” Feigning insult, I received the reply … now hang onto your mouse … “Italian, Japanese, whatever.” REALLY? This could be sparking an international incident of cataclysmic proportions!

    Just to clear the confusion a wee bit, this was an Italian cooking lesson, but shall go down in the annals of history as Japanese Dessert Day. Really, would my Italian ancestors allow this to go by without unmerciful teasing? Anyone who knows me well knows the answer … ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    And this brought to mind that I have not made Tiramisu in AGES and probably should soon – if for no other reason than to assure myself that this dessert is QUITE Italian.

    Tirami su literally translates to ‘pick me up’, probably due to the espresso and chocolate in the recipe. I don’t remember where this recipe came from beyond my sister, and know she tweaked it and I tweaked it and came out with this delightful version.

    So, here we go …

    • 6 eggs, separated
    • 3 T sugar
    • 1 lb mascarpone
    • 1 T dark rum
    • 1 T peach liquor
    • 24 ladyfingers
    • 1 C espresso
    • 1 100 g Toblerone bar

    NOTE: You really want Savioardi, which are a crisper version of lady fingers. I buy the liquor in nip bottles as I don’t use those often. Toblerone adds an extra, really nice flavor and texture that just plain old chocolate does. ALso, I ended up using 1 1/2 Toblerone bars.

    Beat egg yolks and sugar until light yellow. Add in the mascarpone and liquors.

    Whip egg whites to soft peaks.

    Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture.

    Soak Savioardi in espresso.

    NOTE: You don’t want them to become soggy. It’s really more ‘showing’ the Savioardi to the espresso. A quick flip and out. It will soak up more than you think.

    Finely chop the Toblerone bar – and try not to eat as much of it as you can while chopping.

    Layer half the Savioardi in the bottom on an 8×8 dish.

    Add half the mascarpone mixture.

    Sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Repeat.

    NOTE: ALSO, don’t put the bowl of hot espresso next to the chopped chocolate. Not sure if you all know this, it’s certainly NEW to me, but chocolate melts next to hot things … so when you gather it to sprinkle it squishes through your fingers and makes an absolutely disgusting mess! In my hair, on my shirt, on my face … (this is what I get for teasing!)

    Refrigerate for 1 hour or over night.

    DIVE IN!

    I was making four different things in my kitchen at the same time, so I had to repeat steps, dumped grated cucumber into the mascarpone, and my kitchen looked as though the Swedish Chef from the Muppets had been channeled into my body … I was COVERED in melted chocolate, mascarpone, espresso … but so TOTALLY worth it!

    Hmmm… mascarpone, savioardi, toblerone, not a bit of nori to be found. Definitely Italian. And so there – HA on you, mpd!

    2 Responses

    1. Your posts are full of such good humor! I can only imagine the hooting and hollaring that come with these conversations 🙂 And I’m glad you’re not a neat cook…I’m in good company! Your nori-free tiramisu sounds amazing! Please pass me a slice~


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