One thing is for sure: tiramisu is a legendary dessert.
The “authorship” of this delicacy made up of mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, ladyfingers, coffee and bitter cocoa, has arisen a heated debate, especially between Italian regions Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The Italian Academy of Cuisine has certified, with nothing less than a notarial deed, that the birthplace of tiramisu is famous Treviso restaurant “Le Beccherie”, putting an end to this sugary food-and-wine controversy: the year is 1970, the inspiration the so-called “sbatudin”, a tonic dessert poor in ingredients and based on egg yolk whipped with sugar. First the addition of mascarpone cheese, then the ladyfingers soaked in coffee – and voilà, that’s the tiramisu we know (and love) today.
Traditionally, mascarpone cream is made with raw eggs: Andrea, indeed, uses very fresh ones from his hens. It being a foodstuff that may be risky, it can be replaced with pasteurised yolks and egg whites.
In the classic tiramisu version proposed here, faithful to the original recipe, Andrea lifts the bar a little launching a small challenge: why not prepare the ladyfingers as well?
For the filling
Beat the egg whites with half the sugar and a pinch of salt. When they begin to become stiff, add the other half and continue until the mixture is fluffy and firm.
Add the egg yolks, incorporating them gently with a spatula, with a bottom-up movement.
Add the lemon zest, the inside of a vanilla bean and, little by little, the sifted flour and starch, mixing them in the same way three times and to keep the mixture stiff.
Transfer the mixture to a bakery bag with a smooth nozzle. Shape about 8 cm long sticks directly on the baking tray lined with baking paper, spacing them appropriately. Sprinkle first with powdered sugar and then with granulated sugar, bake at 190° in a convection oven for about 8-10 minutes and at 150° for another 10 minutes or until crisp.
To prepare tiramisu, start with the mascarpone cream.
Divide the egg yolks from the whites and beat the latter in a bowl until stiff with half the powdered sugar.
After combining the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in another bowl, whisk them for a long time until the mixture is light-coloured and fluffy.
Gently add the mascarpone cheese to this mixture in several steps, then add the whites whipped stiff. Let the cream rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before beating it stiff.
Dip the ladyfingers in cold coffee for a few seconds and place them on a paper towel for any excess liquid to dry.
Arrange 8 ladyfingers in a line on a serving plate, cover them with a layer of mascarpone cream using a bakery bag, make the second layer with another 8 ladyfingers and finish with the cream.
Tiramisu can be eaten immediately or kept in the fridge. Remember to sprinkle it with bitter cocoa before serving.