This past week, our friend and newly minted rabbi, Howard, invited us to his home to celebrate Shavuot. As the custom on Shavuot is to serve dairy dishes, Howard challenged his guests to a “cheese-off.” Anyone who knows me knows that I take cooking challenges very seriously, so Kenny and I put our heads together, and brainstormed what we wanted to bring to the celebration. I suggested my Cuban-style flan, which resembles a crust-less cheesecake, but I made that last year, and Kenny vetoed this idea. Then, I suggested my herb and goat cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes, but Kenny had something else in mind. He wanted us to bring something nobody else would ever think of bringing: Tiramisu.
Kenny and I learned to make truly authentic Tuscan-style tiramisu while on our honeymoon in Italy. During our highlight tour of the country, we spent some time in the Tuscan hilltop town, Cortona, where Allessandra Federici opened up her home to us, as she taught us to cook traditional Italian recipes. This was, by far, the best day of the honeymoon, and when Kenny suggested tiramisu for the party at Howard’s house, I knew just the recipe.
Since classic tiramisu calls for the use of *raw eggs, we felt the need to make a disclaimer when we arrived at Howard’s, but Howard assured me that if it tasted good, it would get eaten. Sure enough, as soon as we set it down, it wasn’t long before word got out about its rich coffee and mascarpone flavor, and the party-goers went at it. As we ate, played a really fun and new board game (team Stempel won!), and discussed Howard’s plans for the future, we gave Howard a lovely send-off, filled with cheesey/dairy goodness and good memories.
Later, Kenny shared with me that since tiramisu is his favorite dessert, and suggested we don’t need to wait for Shavuot to make it again. Kenny has a big graduation coming up this week. Who knows… maybe he’ll get a double dose of the good stuff.
*Note: My dear friend Ali, who is a champion for all things public health, shared with me that it is best to use fresh, pasteurized eggs in this recipe. Click here for a store locator where you can find the type she recommends.
- 6 FRESH, pasteurized eggs
- ¾ cups fine sugar
- 1 lb. mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup brewed coffee or espresso
- 1 large package of ladyfinger cookies
- 1-2 Tbs. good quality cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate shavings
- Carefully separate the egg whites from the egg yolks into two large bowls.
- In the bowl with the egg yolks, mix in the sugar, using a hand mixer until they are soft and cream-colored. Add the softened mascarpone cheese, and mix well, and set aside.
- In the bowl with the egg whites, add the pinch of salt, and whisk using a mixer until firm peaks are formed. Gently fold the egg whites unto the egg yolk mixture until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
- Spread a light layer of the egg mixture on the bottom of a 9x11-inch dish. Individually dunk ladyfingers in the coffee, and layer over the egg mixture. Add another layer of egg mixture, and top with coffee-dunked ladyfingers. Continue layering until ingredients run out.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the cocoa powder over top layer.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours.