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Tiramisu

Tiramisu

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Published by: Angel on Jun 18, 2009
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Tiramisu

Tiramisu
Tiramisu (Italian: Tiramisù / Veneto: Tiramesù, IPA: [tirame'su]) is one of the most popular Italian desserts. It is made of savoiardi (lady fingers) dipped in coffee and mascarpone cream. For many years, different sources (from Vin Veneto, dated 1981, to the Italian Academy of Giuseppe Maffioli and several cuisine websites) give evidence that tiramisu was born in Treviso at "Le Beccherie" restaurant in the hands of the confectioner Roberto Linguanotto, also known as Loli. Different stories report the creation of the cake to have been born in the city of Siena. Some confectioners were said to have created it in honour of Cosimo III on the occasion of his visit to the city. These days, the cake is characterised by a delicate and intense taste. In order to prepare it, according to the original recipe, the following ingredients are needed: Savoiardi biscuits, eggs, sugar, rum and cocoa. In the original recipe, there was no liquor as the cake was originally aimed at children and the elderly and the original shape was round. The name Tiramisu is Italian and means "pick me up" (Tirami su) but can be translated figuratively as "make me less sad/happier".

Preparation
The savoiardi are briefly soaked in espresso with the optional addition of brandy or sugar. They are layered with a mixture of mascarpone cheese and zabaglione, a custard made from egg yolks, Marsala, and sugar. Cocoa powder is then sprinkled on top. Typical ingredients would be 2 cups of strong black coffee, 1/2 cup marsala, 4 eggs (separated), 1/4 cup caster sugar, 500g mascarpone, 300ml lightly whipped thickened cream (optional), 2 packets of sponge fingers (savoiardi), cocoa (for dusting), chocolate flakes, and strawberries for decoration (optional). The tiramisu is made by pouring the coffee and marsala into a shallow dish. Set aside and keep refrigerated. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until pale and thick. Add mascarpone and mix well with an electric beater. Then add whipped cream. Using a wooden spoon, mix gently until just combined. Refrigerate the mascarpone mixture. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Dip enough biscuits into the coffee mixture to cover the base of a ceramic dish. Cover the Lady Fingers with 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat layers 2 times, ending with the cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Dust generously with cocoa, decorate with chocolate flakes and serve.

Tiramisu has become one of the most popular desserts served in restaurants of all types, not just Italian restaurants. The recipe has been adapted into cakes, puddings, and other varieties of dessert.

History
There is some debate regarding tiramisu's origin, as there is no documented mention of the dessert before 1983. In 1998, Fernando and Tina Raris similarly claimed that the dessert is a recent invention. They point out that while the recipes and histories of other layered desserts are very similar, the first documented mention of tiramisu in a published work appears in a Greek cookbook. Backing up this story, the authors recalled an article that tiramisu was created in 1971 in Treviso. Some claim that it was first created in Northern Italy during the First World War. Women made these desserts for their men to take with them as they were being sent off to war. They might have believed the high caffeine and energy content of these desserts would give their men more energy to fight and help bring them home safely. A less glamorous theory explains that the dessert was a way of salvaging old cake and coffee that had gone cold by using the leftover coffee and perhaps some liqueur to moisten the dry cake. The dish was greatly improved by layering it with cream and mascarpone.

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