Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy New Year!!
What better way to begin the New Year with a dessert as yummy as tiramisu! For all those who don’t know what tiramisu is, it is basically an Italian dessert, pronounced as "tih-ruh-mee-SOO") invented in the 1960's at the El Touga restaurant in Treviso, Italy.

Literally translated Tiramisu means "pick me up" or "carry me up", which probably refers to the jolt you get after eating espresso and alcohol laced ladyfingers. It is often called an 'Italian Trifle" because, like any trifle, it has layers. In this case, ladyfingers are dipped in a mixture of coffee (espresso) and alcohol (rum or Marsala), and then they are layered with a custard that has been mixed with mascarpone cheese.

Mascarpone, pronounced mas-kahr-POH-nay, is a soft unripened cheese that belongs to the cream cheese family. It is a thick, buttery-rich, sweet and velvety, ivory-colored cheese, with a delicate and mild flavor, produced from cow's milk that has the texture of clotted or sour cream.


Read more:

Well this is a little bit of background on the actual dessert and its ingredients; however I have localized it to fit my taste and culture of course. So, my recipe naturally does not include wine, have replaced it with chocolate syrup. Original tiramisu uses zabaglione, which is an egg yolk custard. I tried it but didn’t really like the eggy taste so I replaced that as well. I am a coffee person, hence I used coffee flavored cream instead. So if you really look at it my tiramisu its like a Pakistani version of the Italian dessert, with chocolate, fresh cream, coffee cream, chocolate sauce and of course the “Savoiardi” or lady fingers. Ladyfingers form the base of this dessert, and these finger-shaped cookies made with a sponge cake batter. Again, I did some customization here as well and instead of experimenting (which I did once and failed miserably:() I made a square vanilla egg sponge cake and cut it into the lady fingers size and shape to form the base. So, really should I even call it a tiramisu that is the question :p;) :p but I will, it still has the pick me up effect from the coffee!

Coming quickly towards the recipe, first let me list down the different individual components that make up the final dessert.
1. Lady Fingers or Sponge Cake
2. Whipped Fresh Cream
3. Coffee Cream
4. Mascarpone Cheese
5. Chocolate sauce / Chocolate Ganache
6. Chocolate shavings
7. Coffee concentrate / syrup

Lady Fingers:
Sponge Cake recipe I have already shared with you here, instead of baking it in a round 8 inch pan I used a rectangle dish around approx 10 by 5 inches. Once baked, cooled in fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, I cut them into rectangles. You can cut them into any shape, any size you wish.

Whipped Cream:
1. Chilled fresh cream approx 450 - 500ml (approx 2 packets each 200ml)
2. 4 tbsp Icing sugar
Just beat these together until soft peaks form. Please don’t overbeat as it could become runny and loose its shape.

Coffee whipped Cream:
Use half (250 ml) of the whipped cream mixture, add1 teaspoon ground coffee powder and mix together.

Mascarpone Cheese:
You can buy ready made cheese from any super store, or make it by following the process below, I found this extremely easy to make as opposed to buying the ready made very expensive version. Since I don’t like extremely sweet desserts, I generally decrease the sugar content in which ever way possible. So I dint use sugar with the cheese, just beat it to give it a nice texture of spreading consistency.
(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)

Full fat fresh cream 200ml / 1 packet
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or Fruit vinegar

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.

Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

Coffee concentrate: Add 2 tsp coffee and 2 tsp sugar in one cup water, bring to boil.

Chocolate Sauce / syrup -> I used ready made hershey’s chocolate sauce

You can also use the chocolate ganache that I discussed here.

Chocolate shavings -> just use a peeler to peel some shreds off the cooking chocolate bar

1. Cover the base of the serving dish with the lady fingers.
2. Drizzle coffee concentrate to moisten the sponge cake.
3. Spread the mascarpone cheese layer over the lady fingers.
4. Next put the chocolate sauce layer, then the coffee cream layer.
5. Cover the coffee cream layer with the lady fingers.
6. Repeat the above process of layering, finishing it off with the lady fingers layers.
7. Cover the entire visible surface with whipped cream
8. Finish off by garnishing with chocolate shavings
9. Can also dust the surface with coco powder
10. Chill the dessert before serving, tastes best when chilled and firm enough to be cut properly.

Happy Baking! :)
Please excuse my photography in this post, my camera died ...cell phone camera to the rescue! :)


  1. Forgot to add the link in my comment:

  2. Ah... your blog site ate my comment!

    The tiramisu looks yummy!

    I follow a quick recipe from Nilla wafers box (not sure if they are available in Pakistan, but you can try candy or sooper biscuits). It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and lots of patience to wait for the flavours to blend.

    Take care,

  3. thanks ambreen :) appreciate ur input!


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