Italian Recipes -

Tiramisù (Pick me up!)

This famous Italian layered dessert was said to have originated when Italian ladies (some say of ill- repute) wanted a snack to get them through a night of entertaining. Try our version, and we think you will agree that a piece of this dessert will add sparkle to any get-together or special celebration, whether for lunch, dinner, or in the wee hours of the evening… Just follow our step-by-step instructions on how to make each component of the dessert, and assemble it all into the delicious layers that will form a kind of cake when refrigerated overnight.

I. Make the zabaglione* custard:
6 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup Marsala wine
*Italian custard made with Marsala wine

Off heat, beat the egg yolks and sugar on the top pot of a double boiler with a whisk until combined and the yolks become pale yellow.
Fill the bottom pot ? of the way up with water and heat to a simmer on the stove.
Place the pot with the egg yolk mixture over the pot with the simmering water.
Stir the beaten egg yolks constantly with a whisk while slowly pouring in the Marsala wine.
Continue to stir, scraping the bottom of the pot often, for about 5 to 6 minutes.
When the mixture has thickened, transfer to a bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

II. Make the cream filling:
1 cup whipping cream (cold)
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 lb. Marscapone cheese
chilled zabaglione custard
Beat the whipping cream and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in the Marscapone cheese, and then the chilled zabaglione custard, into the whipped cream until well blended.

III. Make the coffee syrup mixture:
2 cups espresso coffee (cooled)
¼ cup Marsala wine
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine the espresso coffee, Marsala wine, and vanilla in a measuring cup.

IV. Assemble the tiramisu (have the following ready):
1. Cream filling
2. Coffee syrup
3. Lady Fingers - 2 (7 oz.) packages lady finger cookies
4. 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder for dusting

Arrange 16 lady finger cookies in a 9" X 13" baking pan.
Pour 1 tsp. of the coffee syrup on each cookie.
Spread ? of the cream filling mixture over the cookies.
Dust with 1 Tbsp. of the cocoa powder.
Repeat cookie layer, coffee syrup, cream filling mixture, and cocoa powder
two more times, finishing with a layer of cream and a dusting of the cocoa powder on top.
Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight to allow the cookies to absorb moisture and flavor.
Cut into squares to serve and enjoy with a cup of espresso coffee!

-Adapted from Antipasti, Pane, e Dolce, 2nd edition, 2010,
courtesy of the Italian American Society of Peoria.

Find more interesting facts about Italian food and culture in each chapter of our book, Conversational Italian for Travelers! Learn how to buy train tickets on line, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher those Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy.

Visit or again for a new Italian Recipe each month. Contact us by email with any suggestions for future recipes or comments you may have. Until then, buon appetito! From the staff at Stella Lucente.