This recipe remedies the terrible illness many call “Rome-sickness,” a state that occasionally plagues past Romers as they reminisce about their Italian adventures. There are so many things to miss: the places, the travel, the coffee but most of all, the food. Though pasta can remedy a bout of Rome-sickness, I suggest an alternative: tiramisu. Tiramisu is a beautiful Italian dessert that combines two of life’s greatest gifts: coffee and dessert. Personally, I add chocolate to add a little flavor and crunch to the soft consistency of the cream and ladyfinger layers. This recipe also enables Nomers to relish some of a edible joys of Italy without having to travel. It is surprisingly easy to make, feeds about 10 students and is budget friendly, especially if you split the cost. Follow the recipe below, grab some friends, put on some Italian music and start baking!
6 egg yolks (save egg whites for an omelette later)
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cup Mascarpone cheese (in the specialty cheese section)
1 ¾ cup heavy whipping cream (a 16 oz. container)
2 7 oz. packages Italian ladyfingers (in the international foods aisle or bread section)
1 ½ cup cold espresso or regular coffee (use your own or get some from the Cap Bar for about $3.00)
1/3 cup melted dark chocolate (optional) Cocoa powder to dust the top
First, you’ll make the zabaglione, an Italian term for sugar and eggs mixed together over heat. To make the zabaglione, get a double boiler (or a medium saucepan and a glass or metal bowl). Boil water in the saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the egg yolks and sugar to the top of the double boiler, and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly and often scraping the sides. If some of the zabaglione sticks to the sides and forms a crust, do not scrape that part off, since it will flake and mix into the zabaglione. After 10 minutes, remove from heat, but keep the double boiler warm for melting chocolate later.
Pour zabaglione into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and lemon colored. Add the Mascarpone and mix until combined.
In another bowl, whip the cream into stiff peaks, until it’s thick, glossy and stiff to the touch. Fold whipped cream into the Mascarpone-zabaglione mixture. Put mixture into refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This prevents the cream from spilling over when poured into the pan.
While the whipped cream mixture cools and stiffens, reheat the water in the double boiler at medium heat. Put dark chocolate into top bowl. Melt, stirring every so often. As the chocolate melts, pour cold espresso into a bowl. Individually dip each ladyfinger into the espresso just long enough to completely cover, but not soak, with espresso.
Get a 9-inch baking pan (or any cake/roast pan about 2” deep). Arrange half of the ladyfingers side-by-side on the bottom of the pan. If your pan is too big, as mine has been a few times, improvise with some cardboard (wrapped in plastic wrap or tin foil) cut to fit the width of the pan. If you use a makeshift pan, don’t forget to put heavy objects in the other half of the pan to hold up the cardboard. (It may sound a bit sketchy, but this is college baking, so nothing is too unusual.)
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the bottom layer. It doesn’t need to completely cover all of the ladyfingers. Get cream mixture out of the refrigerator and layer half of it on top of the ladyfingers. Use the rest of the ladyfingers to add another layer and then add the rest of the cream on top. Smooth over and place in refrigerator for four hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, dust the cocoa powder on top by using a fork (or sifter) to sift the powder and cover the tiramisu as you desire. Once all this is finished, your tiramisu is ready to serve.
Hopefully, this famous and well-loved Italian dessert relieves your Rome-sickness, but if not, spending time with friends and sharing stories can be the best cure. Buona fortuna!