When it comes to dessert, I LOVE LAYERS!
And nothing compares to the love I have for this must-share recipe for Valentines Day or San Valentino!
Tiramisu, the epitome of Italian desserts, has more to offer than just layers of sweet mascarpone and savoiardi. It also has a rich and somewhat risqué history.
There are varying accounts as to where, when and who was genius enough to concoct what has undoubtedly become synonymous with Italian cuisine.
Five northern regions of Italy claim to be the birthplace of Tiramisu: Lombardia, Piemonte, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Toscana. One such claim dates back as far as 17th century, Siena, Tuscany, when a cake was created in honor of the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici.
However, the more popular belief declares Veneto its official birthplace, specifically Le Beccherie, a restaurant located in Treviso. Its owners, the well-respected Campeol family, opened in 1939. The recipe is rumored to have been modified from that of the Renaissance. Venetian prostitutes, or should I say, “ladies of the night”, supposedly used it as an energy/ performance boost in the bedroom.
Another more practical theory is that it was developed out of necessity. Rather than waste a slightly old cake, liquor was added to soften it, and then topped with mascarpone cream. And its appearance was of course a bit more rustic too. Tiramisu was originally made in a round serving dish, but over the years has been squared off—accommodating the natural shape of each and every ladyfinger.
Regardless of which story sounds more appealing, no love affair is complete without tragedy.
Le Beccherie Ristorante—this slice of history, has recently fallen victim to what some have called *a flattening of the world’s food culture and Italy’s financial crisis. Its doors officially closed in March of 2014, yet hope remains that the family will somehow continue their legacy. Whether or not they decide to sell is still unknown.
One thing is certain; the world’s love for tiramisu is still alive and well. So to show my love for one of the most prized culinary creations on this planet, I decided to make tiramisu. Only this time, I chose to incorporate Frangelico— the perfect liquid twist that strays from tradition—without rocking the gondola.
For step by step instructions, check out my first video recipe here under the “How to” tab or visit my Youtube channel! And be sure to read these quick tips to make tiramisu.
For the inspiration behind this dessert, check out my latest blog post too:
- Raw eggs and mascarpone require speedy execution, otherwise we could be talking health risks. Prep your ingredients ahead of schedule and mind the clock.
- Speaking of eggs: Use only the best. Go organic and test them for freshness before use. Simply place an egg in a pot of water. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it’s a good egg indeed!
- Separate your sugar into three parts: Two equal portions, one for the egg yolks, one for the egg whites, and the last bit for your espresso (see recipe for quantities).
- Do not over soak the ladyfingers/ savoiardi: Breakage is very real. If you need to resize the savoiardi to fit the baking dish, have no fear. Simply cut them when dry, THEN soak them.
- It pays to have patience: Make your tiramisu up to a day in advance, let the ingredients honeymoon overnight and prepare yourself for a foodgasm. If you wish to serve it the same day, then let it chill for at least 6 hours to marry all of those rich flavors.
- Store this in the refrigerator for no more than three days. You can also freeze it for up to a month. To defrost, simply refrigerate it the night before serving.
Buon appetito and lots of love!
*Crisi, chiude il ristorante dove nacque la prima ricetta del Tiramisù– quote from President Luca Zaio of Veneto
Photography: Irina Smirnova