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Tiramisu: the perfect recipe, the origins and variations of the dessert


A journey to discover tiramisu: from the disputed origins to the original recipe, without forgetting the variations of the Italian dessert par excellence.

Just combine eggs, sugar, mascarpone, coffee, ladyfingers and cocoa: our grandmothers (and recipe books) make the tiramisu recipe seem so simple, that we delude ourselves into knowing how to make it with our eyes closed . It is – perhaps – the Italian dessert par excellence, but as often happens, simple recipes prove to be the most insidious to make. Who has never tasted two tiramisu so different from each other that they even made us doubt whether they were the same dessert?

This is why today we propose to begin a journey to discover its origins and its variations, to understand its secrets and be able to replicate it as best as possible . Because after all, the only thing that will make our mascarpone dessert perfect is practice (and several tastings!).

The origins and history of tiramisu: who holds the paternity?

Let's start with a sore point: the origins of tiramisu are disputed to this day. A bit like Italians and Chinese dispute the paternity of spaghetti, Venetians and Friulians also claim to have been the inventors of the typical Italian dessert. Don't think it's an "ancient" dessert: its first traces date back to the 1960s, a period in which it became part of dictionaries and encyclopedias; everything suggests, therefore, that it is a recently invented dish.

In the 1940s, the Friulians invented and served Queen Maria the ' Cuppo Vetturino ', a dessert made with chocolate mousse, sponge cake and liqueur. She likes the dessert, and it is so successful that in the following years all the chefs in Carnia begin to offer their own versions. Norma Pielli's , based on mascarpone and coffee, is mentioned in Pellegrino Artusi's Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well : several gastronomes believe it is one of the first official recipes for the dessert.

But the Venetians also have arrows in their bow. A chef and pastry chef named Roberto Linguanotto , after having worked in Germany, tried to recreate some Habsburg-inspired desserts, creating a dessert with a cream based on egg yolk beaten with sugar.

If you think that's the end of it, you're wrong: the Sienese also have their own legend, although it's the least accredited. It is said, in fact, that a dessert called the Duke's soup was prepared for Cosimo de' Medici.

The origin of the name 'tiramisu'

The Padovani couple and food writers thought about providing some clarity on the issue in their book Tiramisu. History, curiosities, interpretations of the most loved Italian dessert . After two years of research, they came to the conclusion that the name ' Tirime sù' was coined in 1935, in the Friulian inn Al Vetturino.

Right in their document, the original and unique recipe is reported, which says: " Make a good coffee, beat two egg yolks with one and a half hectograms of sugar, add one and a half hectograms of mascarpone ", before placing fridge and leave to rest for 12 hours .

Tiramisu: the original recipe


The traditional tiramisu recipe does not include the use of egg whites or liqueur; the original ingredients are only ladyfingers, coffee, egg yolks, mascarpone, sugar and cocoa. Furthermore, it should be done in a round baking dish .

However, we already hear someone protesting, arguing that egg whites , cream or liqueur are fundamental in tiramisu. And, to be honest, making it round can be complicated due to the shape of the ladyfingers. For this reason, over the years , more and more variations have spread that add, eliminate or modify a detail starting from the classic tiramisu recipe .

Egg whites, for example, are added to give softness to the cream , while the liqueur, according to many, gives the dessert something extra.

In short, we advise you, as always, to follow common sense and your own taste. For example, below is our tiramisu, the classic recipe with the addition of egg whites and without liqueur so that even the little ones can enjoy it!

Ingredients of the classic tiramisu (for 6 people)

  • 400 g of mascarpone
  • 3 very fresh eggs
  • 80 g of sugar
  • 200 ml of coffee
  • 350 g of ladyfingers
  • bitter cocoa to taste

DIFFICULTY : 1 | COOKING TIME : 0′ | PREPARATION TIME : 30′ (+ rest time)

In our version, we chose to include egg whites, because they give the mascarpone cream softness , making it soft and airy. So let's see how to make it: whip the egg whites until stiff; separately, beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk and when the mixture is light, add the mascarpone. As a final step, gently fold in the egg whites.

Place the cream in the fridge and start preparing the coffee. When it has cooled , dip the ladyfingers in it, which you will place in a baking dish. Cover the biscuits with a layer of cream and repeat the layering until all the ingredients are used up. Complete with a sprinkling of bitter cocoa and let it rest in the fridge for at least 5 hours (preferably overnight).

Variations of the classic recipe

As we have already reiterated, due to its enormous popularity, many variations of the recipe for tiramisu with ladyfingers have spread. They range from the one without eggs, to fruit tiramisu, which have very little of the original dessert. But the variations certainly don't end here: it would be reductive not to talk, for example, about the tastiest of all – the one with Nutella – or the vegan one.

How to make tiramisu with Pavesini

tiramisu with pavesini
tiramisu with pavesini

Much discussed, for example, is the tiramisu with Pavesini instead of ladyfingers. If you want to make it, all you have to do is replace the 350 g of ladyfingers with the same number of Pavesini , taking into account that the latter are thinner and will therefore absorb less coffee. At the same time, however, they are also more "stiff" and therefore hold up better to cutting; for this reason, many define it as a smarter recipe. But don't serve it to your dessert purist friends with ladyfingers!

How to make tiramisu with the Thermomix

tiramisu with the thermomix
tiramisu with the thermomix

Furthermore, whoever owns it can easily make tiramisu with the Bimby. Get the ingredients and, first, whip the egg whites in the bowl with the mixer for 7 minutes at speed 4. Set them aside. In the mixing bowl – still with the butterfly – add the egg yolks and sugar for 6 minutes at speed 4. Then remove the butterfly from the Thermomix and add the mascarpone by spoonfuls: 2 minutes at speed 3. Finally, fold in the egg whites by hand. For layering, proceed as usual.

The recipe for tiramisu with Nutella

Nutella tiramisu
Nutella tiramisu

The most delicious, the one that you just can't help but like, is the one with Nutella. The ingredients for tiramisu with Nutella (for 8 people) are:

  • 350 g of mascarpone
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 glass of milk
  • 250 g of Nutella
  • 120 ml of coffee
  • 180 g of ladyfingers
  • 80 g of sugar
  • bitter cocoa to taste
  • water to taste

The preparation of Nutella tiramisu is slightly more laborious because it involves the creation of a thick syrup, to be used with the egg yolks, and then a cream with Nutella. But the result is so delicious that we assure you it's worth it!

Tiramisu with pandoro: the recipe

Tiramisu With Pandoro
Tiramisu With Pandoro

The pandoro- based version is very popular during the Christmas period (and after the holidays). Ingredients for the tiramisu with pandoro recipe (for 8 people):

  • 1 pandoro without icing sugar
  • 600 g of mascarpone
  • 300 ml of bitter coffee
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g of sugar
  • cocoa powder to taste

Perfect for the period after the holidays, when we find ourselves with so much leftover pandoro (or panettone) that we no longer know what to do with it. Here is the complete recipe for tiramisu with pandoro !

How do you make tiramisu without eggs?

Tiramisu Vegan
Tiramisu Vegan

Finally, among the most popular variations is that of tiramisu without eggs. For different reasons, many prefer not to use them: both to avoid ingesting raw eggs and for food choices such as vegan ones. To overcome this problem , you can proceed in two ways: replace the eggs or make a vegan tiramisu directly. If you have young children, for example, you may want to avoid using raw eggs.

In this case, we recommend replacing the eggs with fresh whipped cream. Calculate that one egg weighs around 60 g: if the recipe calls for 4, get just under 250 g of liquid cream. Whip it with the whisk, incorporating the sugar and then delicately add it to the mascarpone.

If you want to completely avoid dairy products and ingredients of animal origin, however, we offer you the vegan tiramisu recipe without mascarpone and eggs, here are the ingredients of the vegan tiramisu (for 4 people):

  • 30 vegan ladyfinger biscuits or dry biscuits
  • 4 cups of coffee
  • bitter cocoa powder to taste
  • 250 g of rice milk
  • 250 g of vegetable cream
  • 1 sachet of vanillin
  • 40 g of rice starch
  • 40 g of sugar
  • dark chocolate flakes (optional)

The preparation of vegan tiramisu is not complicated: you just have to keep in mind that we will be working with completely different ingredients, and therefore the procedure will not be the usual one we are used to.

How to make fruit tiramisu?

When it starts to get a little warmer and the wonderful colorful fruit starts to appear on the greengrocer's counters, you also want a slightly different dessert. If the classic tiramisu appears "heavy" and excessively elaborate, try one of the delicious fruit variations.

At Strawberry tiramisu without eggs
At Strawberry tiramisu without eggs

Let's start with the strawberry one . The procedure does not differ too much from the classic one: the preparation of the mascarpone cream remains the same. The difference, which gives it an extraordinary freshness , lies in the absence of coffee in the biscuit mixture: the ladyfingers are soaked in milk, and to complete everything a layer of diced strawberries is added. The ingredients of the strawberry tiramisu recipe (for 4 people) are:

  • 400 g of mascarpone
  • 100 ml of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g of granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 500 g of strawberries
  • 300 g of ladyfingers

Those looking for a fresh fruit dessert or perhaps a tiramisu without coffee can try the orange tiramisu and the mango tiramisu : two variations with an exotic flavor that will surprise you. The first involves a couple of spoons of Marsala which, combined with orange juice, create a delicious alcoholic syrup. In the second, however, in addition to the mango juice for the biscuits, we will also add some fresh fruit cut into pieces. Once ready, we recommend storing them in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or, at most, freezing them for no more than two weeks. Then, if desired, decorate with tufts of whipped cream.

The recipe for pistachio tiramisu

Tiramisu With pistachios
Tiramisu With pistachios

The pistachio tiramisu is also very tasty. For lovers of the flavors of Sicily, we offer you this delight. A homemade pistachio paste (based on blended dried fruit and seed oil) must be added to the mascarpone and, on top, to complete everything, there is a crunchy grain .

Coconut tiramisu: the recipe

Coconut tiramisu
Coconut tiramisu

Finally, we leave you with one last creamy delicacy: the coconut variant . The ingredients for the coconut tiramisu recipe (for 8 people) are:

  • 300 g of mascarpone
  • 250 g of whipping cream
  • 250 g of ladyfingers
  • 2-3 cups of coffee
  • 50ml coconut milk
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 50 g of coconut flour + to taste for decoration
  • bitter cocoa powder to taste

The main difference is in the coconut flour, which is added to the mascarpone cream. The coffee is then enriched with coconut milk, which gives it a unique aroma: here is thecomplete recipe for coconut tiramisu .

Now that you are real experts , we can only wish you… bon appetit!

Tiramisu in the world: 6 curiosities

• The Zingarelli dictionary, in 1983, gave the first definition of " a dessert made from sponge cake soaked in coffee and filled with mascarpone mixed with egg, sugar and whipped cream, all covered with a veil of chocolate powder and served Freddo ". A few years later, the term was also included in the Oxford Dictionary and, today, as certified by the Accademia Italiana della Crusca, the term "tiramisu" is present in 23 different languages . It is no coincidence that it is the fifth best-known Italian word in the world!

• It is also going strong in the countries of the Rising Sun: in China it is the most searched Italian word on the web; in Japan , however, it became a phenomenon in 1990 when Hanako , a bi-weekly magazine for girls dedicated eight pages to it.

• World Tiramisu Day is celebrated on March 21st .

• It even reached space : in 2013, it was prepared for astronaut Luca Parmitano (chef Davide Scabin managed to invent the dehydrated version of tiramisu).

• In 1993 he also landed in the USA thanks to the film Sleepless in Seattle . A famous joke mentions "tiramisu" and the American public begins to become interested in (and request) this delicious Italian dessert.

• The largest tiramisu in the world weighs 3015 kg and was prepared in Friuli Venezia Giulia in 2015. In 2018, however, the longest in the world was made in the province of Gorizia: 266 meters of goodness.

Riproduzione riservata © - WT