This is a French way of making an Italian dessert… but it’s better. Trust.
It’s a recipe I’ve adapted from Pierre Hermé’s Pastries, which is one of the most beautiful books I own. Buy it for your coffee table alone.
The thing about this recipe to make it stand out and be less traditional is that it uses an Italian meringue and raw egg yolks. Most tiramisu’s are the opposite, using a French meringue and a cooked egg yolk mixture (similar to zabaione). So in a way this is more of a French technique even though it requires an Italian meringue. Confused yet? Whatever the reason, the result is a wonderfully rich yet light texture.
Five things to note:
- Store bought ladyfingers are better. It sounds crazy, but believe me, for this purpose they soak up just enough espresso and maintain their structure.
- I’ve swapped out the marsala for crème de cacao. It adds a punch of chocolate flavor that I really like.
- Buy a mascarpone that has 54% moisture.
- I use espresso powder, but you can also use a good, strong espresso (key word, strong).
- And lastly, don’t be weirded out by the raw egg yolks.
Yield: Serves 6
(6” x 9” glass container or loaf pan)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
- 1 Tbsp water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 ½ cups mascarpone
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp crème de cacao
1 sleeve ladyfingers
Cocoa powder for dusting
- Make your espresso soak first. Boil water and sugar, then add espresso powder. Cool down.
Make your Italian meringue by boiling water and sugar to 121°F. Whip the whites until medium peaks form before you begin streaming in the hot syrup.
- While that is mixing, combine the mascarpone with the egg yolks and crème de cacao in a separate bowl.
- Once meringue is almost cooled to room temp but still slightly warm (you don’t want to melt the mascarpone, it will be too liquidy!) fold it into the mascarpone mixture.
- Start with soaking ladyfingers in espresso soak, 2 at a time, and then lay them on the bottom of your dish. (you don’t want to oversaturate the ladyfingers, but you don’t want them to be dry either)
- Dust generously with cocoa powder.
- Spread ½ of the mascarpone mixture over dusted ladyfingers.
- Repeat this all one more time.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Overnight is crucial, you want the mascarpone to settle nicely into the nooks and crannies of the ladyfingers and have those flavors meld.)
- Dust the top layer with cocoa powder before serving!