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I’m really not a huge fan of dessert, and I’m even less a fan of chocolate. I apologize for the blasphemy, but it’s true: I’d much prefer a cheese plate, or maybe some sorbet or a glass of chilled Jurancon. When you love to entertain, though, dessert is important, and I like to entertain, so over the years, I’ve acquired several dessert recipes. Tiramisú is one of them.

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My mother often develops dessert obsessions, usually in the summer: she’ll take a classic — key lime pie, chocolate ice cream, pignoli cookies — and try tens of recipes, foisting the products on her taste testers (us) to ask which is best and how to improve, until she ends up with the best possible recipe for something. It was directly after the summer of the tiramisú that I left for college, where the dining halls of high school were replaced with a shared kitchen and no dining plan in sight.

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It was then that I started making tiramisú, and lots of it, as a follow-up to giant trays of lasagna I would make. My cooking repertoire was limited to these two dishes, which I made much more complicated than they needed to be. For one, I bought a bottle of Amaretto that we never managed to finish drinking, until the last night of first year, when there was nothing left except the almond liqueur, which we choked down with Coke.

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But that’s beside the point. After first year, I was a little tiramisú-ed out. I was convinced it was too complicated to make on a regular basis (I was following the Giada di Laurentiis recipe at the time), and I started making other things. Cookies. Cupcakes. I started this here blog. I abandoned my old standby.

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It came back when I was in Paziols. I found a much easier (and much more authentic) version, which I made with the kids thanks to its ease… and continued to make thanks to its deliciousness. I could have sworn I had already posted about it, until my dad requested it for dessert tonight, and I was stunned, after doing a search of my blog, which has become my own personal recipe box, to find that it was nowhere in sight. So here you go: easy, authentic, delicious… a crowd-pleaser. And you can make it ahead of time, which pleases the host.


5 egg yolks
500 g. mascarpone
5 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
1 Tbsp. rum or amaretto
20 ladyfingers
shaved bittersweet chocolate

Whip the egg yolks together until combined and slightly lighter in color. Add the mascarpone and sugar and whip well until completely blended. Set aside.

In a shallow dish, combine the coffee and rum or amaretto. Find shallow Pyrex dish about 8 x 10 inches. Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture on both sides, then lay them in a single layer along the bottom of the dish. Pour half of the mascarpone mixture over this layer. Repeat with the next layer of ladyfingers and mascarpone. Top with chocolate shavings.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight if possible before serving.

2 thoughts on “Tiramisu

  1. em, this looks exactly like our favorite treat at Vico! … i want one for christmas.

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