May 29, 2008

Traditional Tiramisù

As I told you, Italian desserts are a very modern creation. Cakes and sweet breads have a long tradition, it’s true. And it’s also true that we can trace the history of gelati and sorbetti back to Roman times. But the traditional Italian dessert until very recently was just fruit. Pure and simple.

However, nowadays Tiramisù is the ultimate Italian dessert. I’ve already posted some tiramisù recipes, but this one is more “traditional”. Traditional tiramisù calls for savoiardi, or Italian lady finger cookies. Savoiardi are light, fragrant, subtle and delicious.

Ingredients (serves 8)
20-24 savoiardi (lady finger cookies)
8 oz mascarpone cheese
3 pasteurized eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tsp of sugar
1 cup of espresso
3 Tbsp rum
cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Basically we’ll follow the same instructions as before. Take the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites using two bowls. Beat the yolks vigorously with 1/2 cup of sugar for 3 minutes and when it has a light and bright yellow color, add the mascarpone cheese. Beat for another 3 minutes until it gets smooth and creamy. Then beat the whites with a pinch of salt until firm and stiff peaks form. Gently mix the creamy mascarpone and yolk mixture and the whipped whites. Lay about 8 cookies side by side in a rectangular pan. Spoon some caffè corretto (espresso + rum + 2 tsp sugar) over the cookies, soaking them. Place a layer of the mascarpone mixture on top of the cookies and repeat this operation completing 3 layers. Sprinkle high-quality cocoa powder on top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, but again it tastes way better the next day!


I’ve had some difficulty finding savoiardi. Even in Italian specialty shops I’ve had some problems. Sometimes I find them just in regular supermarkets, and I’ve found them even in a dollar store (and yes, they were made in Italy… however I must confess I didn’t try them).

I have lived in Chile and savoiardi are unexpectedly popular down there. So I was really surprised when I couldn’t find them in North America. Maybe it was just my luck, but in Chile you can buy them even from vendors in the streets! And it gets even more interesting. Chilean savoiardi are called galletas de champaña (champagne cookies), yet there’s no champagne in them. But they have an interesting ingredient that you don’t find in the Italian ones: chuño, which is dehydrated potato flour. Far out!

Branching out
Cantucci Tiramisù
Amaretti Tiramisù

Posted by Daziano at 10:22 AM |  


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