Some people buy toilet paper, others buy mascarpone. Here is why.
I am avoiding stockpiling (in Dutch: “hamsteren”, free after the habit of hamsters to store their food in their mouth) at these challenging times, but once in a while we need to buy some basic groceries. I thought I should get some milk and flour but I came home empty handed as both products were not available at Loblaws earlier this week. At least not in the size I wanted to have it in. But they did have mascarpone and ladyfingers, so I thought I am going to make my favourite recipe instead: Tiramisu.
Real Tiramisu, the ultimate dessert
Most of us know Tiramisu, a dessert invented in Italy and meaning something along the lines of ‘cheer me up’. The origins appear to be vague but most agree that it was invented somewhere in the 1960’s. The real tiramisu is made with eggs, but restaurants -from what I learned from a former restaurant owner in Manotick, ON- can not make Tiramisu the way it is supposed to be made.
The Tiramisu recipe asks for 4-5 raw eggs and as it is not baked or cooked, you will eat them raw. OMG. Raw egg products are against the rules of Health Canada and likely in other countries too, so the majority of commercial, if not all, outlets sell Tiramisu made of whipped cream. Which is really not the same.
In order to eat the real Tiramisu, you will have to make it yourself and it is really a very easy recipe. If you are nervous about raw eggs, you shouldn’t make it, but I have been eating it for probably 15 years and I am feeling just fine (yet). The risk of contracting the COVID-19 is likely much higher currently than getting sick from raw eggs. Remember the time that Canada wanted to ban all raw milk for fear of health issues?
How to make real Tiramisu?
You need very few ingredients for real Tiramisu:
4 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 pound of Mascarpone (around 11-13 CAD, cheaper at Costco, but you have to buy two lately)
2 packages of ladyfingers (99 cents each)
1/2 cup of strong coffee
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup alcohol (liquer such as Amaretto, or even gin) to enhance the taste
Steps to make this incredible dessert
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Start mixing the whites and 1/2 cup of sugar. Make sure there is no yolk in there as you won’t be able to whip up the whites to a stiff mass. This should take about 8 minutes, until you see a ripple effect in the egg white.
Meanwhile, make your half cup coffee.
Set the bowl with whites aside. Mix in a second bowl the yolks with the other 1/2 of the sugar until it is a creamy mass.
Mix the Mascarpone into the yolks with a spatula.
Add the whites and mix it into one creamy, glorious mass.
Find a bowl (eyeball the size) or dish and cover the bottom with lady fingers; be generous. Pour half the coffee over the ladyfingers and allow the coffee to be absorbed by the ladyfingers for a minute or so.
Put a layer of the cream over the ladyfingers, then add another layer of ladyfingers, pour the other half of the coffee and all the alcohol over that second layer of ladyfingers.
Cover with the remaining cream.
Add some cocoa on top with a flour sive.
If you have any cream left, just start a second smaller bowl and follow the same steps. Store it in the fridge for a few hours so the flavours can set.
So there you have it. The mascarpone makes it a somewhat more expensive dessert, but with at least 10 modest servings, it still boils down to about CAD 1.50 each. I bet you would pay 10 CAD in a restaurant and not even get the real deal. Plus tips, plus taxes. For more easy food see: Easy peasy pie.
Tip: if you cut back on sugar, it will have a a bit more of a cheesy taste, try for yourself what you like most. The egg whites might come out a bit more runny I think though.