For many people, the pleasures of the holidays are seen through the eyes of their children. The glee of a child experiencing Santa or enjoying Grandma’s traditional cookies or getting that much-desired present is enough to put a smile on the face of any Scrooge out there. Not having any kids in our house, we occasionally get this sensation from other people’s little ones but, more often than not, we find our holiday pleasures in the special foods that come available at the holly, jolly time of year.
When the first eggnog shows up in the dairy case or when the neighbors come by with their homemade goodies or when a good friend stops by with that special bottle of wine to share, that is cause for celebration in our house.
Such was the case last weekend when we sat down to dinner with a good friend bearing zinfandel. It was cause to pull out a favorite bowl that Chuck had crafted and whip up a home-made tiramisu.
Tiramisu is a luscious Italian dessert that includes a bit of espresso in the recipe hence the name ‘tiramisu’ or ‘pick me up’ in Italian. It is also often made with a bit of Amaretto added which is why I refer to it as a ‘cheer me up’ rather than a ‘pick me up’!
Filled with holiday spirit, we are sharing our favorite recipe below. Enjoy!
36 ladyfinger cookies, dried Italian style
1 pound mascarpone cheese
5 egg yolks
1 egg white, whipped
5-1/4 ounces of sugar
a couple of cups of espresso coffee for dipping
1/2 cup Amaretto (We use Frangelico instead. Or you can omit the alcohol all together, if you prefer.)
1. Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar in a bowl until you obtain a frothy mixture. Stir in the cheese and mix carefully. Add the whipped egg white and the liquor, if using. Mix well into a smooth cream.
2. In a large bowl, spread a layer of cream. Dip the ladyfingers in the coffee, one at a time, turning them on both sides and then line them up in the bowl on the cream. (Note that the cookies will soak up the coffee VERY quickly so don’t dip for too long!)
3. Spoon a second layer of cream over the ladyfingers and then arrange another layer of coffee-soaked lady fingers over the top.
4. Spread a third layer of cream evenly over the ladyfingers. Using a sieve, sprinkle the powdered cocoa to decorate the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.