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Perfect Tiramisu

Perfect Tiramisu
Recipe Date:
Serving Size:
Cook Time:
Imperial (US)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 32 ounces marscarpone cheese (at room temp)
  • 2 cups strong espresso
  • 1/2 cup brandy, the cheap stuff is fine ;)
  • 32 hard ladyfingers (not the soft kind)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

There are TWO secrets to an amazing tiramisu. The first is making the perfect custard. If you get that right, it's pretty hard to screw up! The second is in the soaking of the ladyfingers. Soak them for too long and you're left with a soagy mess. The ladyfingers should go in & right out of the coffee/brandy mixture. It'll seem like it's not enough but believe me, this is key to a wonderful textural component that really rounds out the dessert.

Now, let's do this:

Fill a large bowl with cold water and fill it with ice. You will need this in a bit to cool down the custard.

Set a heat proof bowl, like a stainless steel mixing bowl, over a small saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the amount of water you use will not touch the bottom of the bowl you will be placing over it.

Add in your egg yolks and sugar into the bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves and it turns a pale yellow.

Slowly whisk in the whole milk until fully incorporated.

Continue to stir the mixture making sure to keep everything moving, most importantly everything on the bottom of the bowl. This is where I normally swith over to a spatula.

This is where the magic happens. Keep mixing the custard until it forms into a nicely thick cream that leaves a heavy coating the back of your spatula or spoon. Usually begins to happen once the mixture reaches above 170F.

You will know it is ready when you run your finger across your spatula and it leaves a deep clean line. Note that, you can get a clean line during the thinner stage of the custard. Just keep going until you really start to notice it thickening up. Your patience in nailing this custard will be very worth it!

Once custard has reached the right consistency, carefully lift and place the bowl into the ice water you prepared earlier. You want to cool down the custard to prevent it from any further cooking. Don't worry about it getting it "cold". Just cool it down for one full minute. The next step will cool it down the rest of the way.

Slowly fold all of the marcarpone cheese into your custard. The warmer the marscapone, the easier this will be. This is where not cooling the custard down all the way comes in handy. The residual heat from the custard will help warm the marscarpone for easier folding, while the marscarpone helps cool the custard down as well.

Make sure to fully incorporate all of the marscarpone into the custard, then give it a good whisk until just smooth.

Now congratulate yourself, the hardest part is done :)

Combine the espresso and brandy into a shallow dish just wide enough to dunk the landyfingers into. The larger the dish, the more espresso and brandy you may need.

One at a time, fully dunk the ladyfingers into the mixture and immediately pull it out. You will eventually start running low on the mixture that a full dunk is not possible. At that point, just place the ladyfinger in and flip, again, making sure to get it out immediately.

You can place the ladyfingers into your serving dish as they come out of the coffee/brandy mix. Fill the bottom of the serving dish with ladyfingers, and then spread 1/3 of your marscarpone custard over them.

Repeat the same process with one or two more layers until you're left with enough marscarpone custard to cover the final top layer.

At this point you can go the traditional route and dust the top with cocao powder and chocolate shavings. I prefer sprinkling crumbled almond biscottis over my tiramisu. Get creative, the tiramisu police isn't watching.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at a minimum 4-6 hours before serving.

A great accompaniment to tiramisu is ever so delicious All Night Long, a traditional mead infused with cold brewed espresso