Monday, August 24, 2009

Lift Me Up

I am not a fan of Tiramisu, but it is my husband's favorite cake, and since yesterday was his birthday, I planned a little surprise which involved secret phone calls, emails, lies, liquor runs and driving twelve miles for some cookies. Let me explain.
Gian Luca loves having people over so it was only natural that I invite some friends over to share the tiramisu, but planning a surprise for the person who lives in the same house as you is extremely difficult ( especially when you live in a one bedroom apartment). I sent a few secret emails to our friends and prayed that no one would leak.

To make matters worse, you cannot buy alcohol in Minneapolis on Sundays. So on Saturday I needed an excuse to go out and buy some. I arrived home with a brown paper bag, holding the rum needed for the cake, and a bottle of Prosecco, which I quickly stashed under the bed.

Thankfully, Gian Luca had to work in his lab on Sunday, giving me enough time to make the cake. But first I needed the dry lady fingers or Savoiardi cookies which were impossible to find in any of the four supermarkets that I went to. One cashier gave me a lead about an Italian specialty store in St. Paul which might have them. I plugged the address into my GPS, buckled my seat belt, and headed out for the drive.

Twelve miles and a few wrong turns later, I was at Cossetta's buying my Savoiardi, mascarpone cheese and two bottles of my favorite bitter Italian soda Sanbitters ( I deserved them!).

Back at home I assembled the Tiramisu, covered it and let it rest in the fridge.
When our friends arrived at 8:30 Gian Luca was so surprised.

Tiramisu literally means "lift me up" probably due to its creamy center or the soft pillows of whip cream piled on top. But to me, the most uplifting thing about this easy no bake dessert was seeing the smile on Gian Luca's face when I placed the tray in front of him. Mission accomplished.

( This is my mother's recipe and the same one that she serves in the restaurant)

16 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
4tbsp powdered sugar
1 bag (24 ) savoiardi cookies (dry Italian Lady fingers) ( you can also substitute from fresh lady fingers if you cannot find the dried)
1 shot (4 oz) rum
1/2 cup cold water
3 shots of espresso coffee
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Put Rum, espresso and cold water into a bowl for dipping. Soak half savoiardi in the mixture for a moment and layer on the bottom of an 8X8 baking dish. Set aside.
Beat egg yolks and granulated sugar together until the mixture is bright yellow. Add mascarpone cheese and stir to incorporate. Don't over beat. Pour half of the mixture on top of the lady fingers and use a rubber spatula to smooth it out. Soak the rest of the savoiardi and layer on top of the mascarpone cream. Cover with the rest of the mascarpone. Set aside
Beat heavy cream and powdered sugar together until whipped. Put in a pastry bag ( or zip lock bag with the end cut off) and squeeze on top of the tiramisu in a decorative way ( I like making little pillows). Sprinkle cocoa powder on top. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
Serves six


  1. Oh boy - tiramisu - it's a spoonful of heaven. lucky hubby.

  2. What a wonderful surprise!Love the slick moves you made to get all the ingredients together for this delicious Tiramisu!I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set, Thanks!