Why I Crave This Easy Tiramisu Recipe
I first became a tiramisu connoisseur in the late 80’s. It was all the rage then, a fixture on restaurant menus. I was new to New York City. After hours of exploring, I would stop for tiramisu, the perfect pick me up. Light, creamy, and laced with expresso, it’s both refreshing and caffeinated. Since there’s no shortage of Italian cafes in New York City, I quickly noticed the subtle flavor differences. Whipped cream or custard? Rum or Marsala wine? Not quite cakey? Over time I found my favorite cafe, and the inspiration for my favorite easy tiramisu recipe.
How This Easy Tiramisu Recipe is Similar to a Ice Box Cake
There’s something magical about the idea of transforming cookies into cake. My first exposure to refrigerator cakes was through the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer version. A cake made famous by the recipe printed on the box. Instead of rising in the oven, four hours in the refrigerator turns cookies and whipped cream into cake.
Sophisticated Versions of the Ice Box Cake
Although Nabisco refrigerator cakes are a fixture of 20th century American convenience food, it’s a riff on the frugal cook’s trick of reusing aging ingredients. Incorporating dry cake or cookies into a new dessert is a tradition that goes back centuries. Many countries have their own version. In the Britain, the trifle substitutes dry pound cake for cookies. The Italian version uses delicate ladyfingers in their easy tiramisu recipe.
Use Whipped Cream for an Easy Tiramisu Recipe
Some tiramisu recipes use custard for the cream filling. Delicious and rich, it requires patience to achieve the proper consistency. Even though I enjoy custard, this easy tiramisu recipe is the one I use most often. Made with whipped cream it is simpler and faster to prepare. Now that the days are getting warmer I don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen.
1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso at room temperature
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
2 cups heavy cream
18 to 20 Italian ladyfingers
1-2 ounces grated bittersweet chocolate for dusting
In a wide dish mix the espresso, 2 tablespoons of Marsala wine, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of sugar. Set aside.
Whip the cream to form stiff peaks with a whisk or hand mixer. Set aside.
Grate the chocolate and set aside.
Mix the mascarpone, the remaining sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and the Marsala wine until combined. Fold the mixture into the whipped cream.
Quickly dip both sides of the ladyfingers in the espresso mixture and lay them in the bottom of a 9 – inch square dish. It might be necessary to break the cookies to completely fill the space.
Cover the ladyfingers with half of the whipped cream mixture. Top with grated chocolate. Add a second layer of espresso – dipped ladyfingers. Top the cookies with rest of the whipped cream, and cover with a layer of grated chocolate.
Cover the dish with cellophane and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Add more fresh grated chocolate to the top before serving.