Category: Desserts

Date: 08-29-2009

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Brandy and even whiskey can stand in for the dark rum. The test kitchen prefers a
tiramisł with a pronounced rum flavor; for a less potent rum flavor, halve the amount
of rum added to the coffee mixture in step 1. Do not allow the mascarpone to warm
to room temperature before using it; it has a tendency to break if allowed to do so.
Be certain to use hard, not soft ladyfingers (see related Ask Cook's information on
shopping for ladyfingers).

Serves 10 to 12

2 1/2 cups strong black coffee , room temperature  
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder   
9 tablespoons dark rum   
6 large egg yolks   
2/3 cup sugar   
1/4 teaspoon table salt   
1 1/2 pounds mascarpone cheese   
3/4 cup heavy cream (cold)  
14 ounces ladyfingers (42 to 60, depending on size)  
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa , preferably Dutch-processed  
1/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , grated (optional)  

1. Stir coffee, espresso, and 5 tablespoons rum in wide bowl or baking
dish until espresso dissolves; set aside.

2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat yolks
at low speed until just combined. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high
speed until pale yellow, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber
spatula once or twice. Add remaining 4 tablespoons rum and beat at medium
speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape bowl. Add mascarpone
and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping
down bowl once or twice. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.

3. In now-empty mixer bowl (no need to clean bowl), beat cream at medium
speed until frothy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Increase speed to high and continue
to beat until cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Using rubber
spatula, fold one-third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten,
then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
Set mascarpone mixture aside.

4. Working one at a time, drop half of ladyfingers into coffee mixture, roll,
remove, and transfer to 13 by 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. (Do not
submerge ladyfingers in coffee mixture; entire process should take no longer
than 2 to 3 seconds for each cookie.) Arrange soaked cookies in single layer
in baking dish, breaking or trimming ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into dish.

5. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers; use rubber spatula to spread
mixture to sides and into corners of dish and smooth surface. Place 2 tablespoons
cocoa in fine-mesh strainer and dust cocoa over mascarpone.

6. Repeat dipping and arrangement of ladyfingers; spread remaining mascarpone
mixture over ladyfingers and dust with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa. Wipe
edges of dish with dry paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate
6 to 24 hours. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, if using; cut into pieces and serve chilled.

STEP BY STEP: Dip, Don't Submerge
Oversoaked: This ladyfinger was fully submerged in the coffee mixture for 2 to 3 seconds.
The coffee mixture has penetrated all the way to the center of the cookie.
Perfectly Soaked: This ladyfinger was dropped into the coffee mixture, rolled,
and removed within 2 to 3 seconds. The coffee mixture has not completely saturated this cookie.

STEP BY STEP: Assembling Tiramisł
2. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers.
1. Arrange soaked ladyfingers snugly in single layer in baking dish.  

3. Dust half of cocoa over mascarpone mixture. Repeat layering.