Tiramisu, like crème brûlée, has become overdone and almost as popular (if not more popular) than cheesecake and apple pie. I’m afraid that my kids are going to expect tiramisu to be available at the ballpark! Although if it’s well made, it might not be such a bad thing. All kidding aside, tiramisu is a serious dessert and should be taken seriously. In my most humble opinion, I think this tiramisu recipe makes the best I’ve ever tasted which is why I can’t take it off the Figs menu and why I include it here. This is the most complicated dessert we make at Figs. Although this recipe looks arduous, most of it can be made ahead of time and assembled the day you want to serve it.–Todd English
LC Not Your Nonna's Tiramisu Note
This isn’t your nonna’s tiramisu recipe. This is layers of coffee-soaked sponge cake smothered in a cream cheese-mascarpone cheese filling and dusted with cocoa. You’re welcome. Er, prego.
Hands-On Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, not including cooling and chilling | Serves 8 to 10
- For the tiramisu cream
- 2 cups milk, preferably whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped
- 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- For the coffee simple syrup
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups double-strength coffee or espresso
- For the genoise (cake)
- Vegetable spray oil
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Cocoa powder, for garnish
- Make the tiramisu cream
- 1. Place the milk and vanilla bean in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles begin to form, about 5 minutes. Do not let the milk come to a rolling boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
- 2. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the granulated sugar and mix until combined. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch.
- 3. Place the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and butter in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat until just smooth.
- 4. Strain the milk into a bowl or measuring cup and discard the bean or reserve it for another use. Whisking constantly, slowly add half the strained milk mixture into the egg mixture in a steady stream. Pour the remaining strained milk back into its saucepan, and then, whisking constantly, slowly whisk the egg and milk mixture into the remaining milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the cornstarch “blooms,” or begins to bubbles. After the first bubble, count to five and then remove the pan from the heat. Continue whisking until the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise. It will thicken very fast. As soon as it does thicken, strain it into the bowl of the standing mixer with the cream cheese mixture, pushing the mixture through the strainer with a spatula and discarding any solids. Combine the egg and cream cheese mixtures on low speed until thoroughly combined and the color of the tiramisu cream is consistent.
- 5. Transfer the mixture to a shallow roasting pan and place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate until chilled through and up to 24 hours.
- 6. Just prior to assembling the tiramisu, place the cream, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar in a mixer and whip until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold half the whipped cream into the mascarpone cream with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining whipped cream.
- Make the coffee simple syrup
- 7. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the coffee or espresso and stir until combined. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (You can cover and refrigerate this for up to a week.)
- Make the genoise (cake)
- 8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a baking sheet with 1-inch sides or a jelly-roll pan with vegetable spray and line it with parchment or wax paper. Spray the paper and sprinkle it with flour.
- 9. Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a bowl.
- 10. Place the eggs and sugar in the metal bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until combined.
- 11. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and fill halfway with water. When the water is hot, place the metal bowl in it and cook until the sugar dissolves, whisking all the while. Do not allow the bottom of the metal bowl to touch the bottom of the saucepan. Return the bowl to the mixer and whisk at high speed until cooled, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the speed to low and while the mixer is running, add the vanilla and almond extracts and then gradually add the flour mixture. As soon as the flour is incorporated, add the melted butter. Turn off the mixer as soon as the butter is incorporated. Stir once with a rubber spatula and then pour it onto the prepared sheet or pan. Have the bowl as close to the pan as possible so that you move the batter as little as possible and don’t move the air around a lot. Spread the mixture evenly and gently transfer to the oven.
- 12. Bake until the genoise (cake) is golden brown, starts to pull away from the sides, and springs back when touched gently, 14 to 16 minutes. Place the sheet or pan on a wire rack and cool the cake completely.
- Assemble the tiramisu
- 13. Make certain that each of the ingredients is completely cooled. Cut the genoise (cake) into 4 even rectangles. Working with 1 rectangle at a time, place it on a cutting board and carefully slice it with a serrated knife into 2 to 3 thin slices. Gently place 1 layer in the bottom of a 10-inch round springform pan or a 2-quart bowl. (Or, for individual portions, slice it up however you need to make it fit into ramekins.) Drizzle the cake with a little of the coffee simple syrup and allow it to soak in.
- 14. Spread half of the tiramisu cream on the coffee-soaked genoise and dust it evenly with cocoa powder. Cover with the remaining genoise and repeat the process again, dusting the top of the tiramisu heavily with the cocoa powder.
- 15. Loosely cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
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Tiramisu Recipe © 1998 Todd English and Sally Sampson. Photo © 1998 Carl Tremblay. All rights reserved.