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Monday, February 11, 2008

Nothing Says "Happy Valentine's Day" Like Tiramisu (Really, Nothing says "Happy Any Day" Like Tiramisu )

Yes G and I are one of those sappy couples that got engaged on Valentine's Day. I never was a fan of sap, but really, this kind of sap was quite all right for me. So, this year I wanted to be nice and sappy and make one of our favorite desserts, tiramisu. Tiramisu is yum. Tiramisu is comfort dessert. Tiramisu can be made with store-bought ladyfingers, but why use those, when you can make your own fresh ones at home with loads of egg whites, yolks, a piping bag and whipping utensils?

If you want more information about this wonderful dessert, you can check out this entry about Tiramisu at Wikipedia, they also have an informative entry about LadyFingers.

So, to begin your tiramisu, you will need to make (or buy) some ladyfingers (I chose to make them because well, I'm a bit nutty and I like the fresh ones). There is no shame in buying these already made:

Ladyfingers: (I decided to make more of a tiramisu cake then just plain ole tiramisu, so this will make 2 piped layers of lady fingers and then enough fingers to line the outside of the "cake")

8 egg whites
8 egg yolks
7 1/2 ounces granulated sugar, divided in two parts, one being 3 ounces and one being 4 1/2 ounces
6 ounces sifted cake flour (I confess to having no cake flour on hand, so I am using all-purpose, shhhh don't tell the lady finger gods)
-Preheat oven to 425F.
-Line a few sheet pans with parchment. If you are going to to make this like a cake you will want to pipe circles of the ladyfinger batter the size of your springform pan (or a little smaller actually) by tracing the pans onto the parchment and placing that parchment on the sheet pans marked side down (you don't want ink in your lady finger cake..well, you might, but I don't recommend it). Have a piping bag with a large plain tip ready to go.
-In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whipping attachment (Or you can whisk by hand if you are strong of wrist, I whisked these by hand because, well, as I said earlier, I'm just plain nuts) place the egg yolks and 3 ounces of sugar. Whip on high until the mixture is thick and light lemon colored. This is called a "cold sabayon".-Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer with a whip attachment (I used my mixer for these, cause I'm not that crazy, my arm was unhappy with me after doing the sabayon..geesh, I'm out of practice). Begin whipping the whites until they start to become a little foamy and then start to slowly add the 4 1/2 ounces of sugar. Whip a bit between each addition. You want your whites to be a medium peak, like so:-Take 1/4 of the whipped egg whites and fold them into the yolk mixture to lighten it (this is called "sacrificing" always sounds neat to "sacrifice 1/4 of the whites"). Gently fold the remaining whites into the yolks until it is just about blended, then add the sifted flour and fold until it disappears into the batter.-Fill your piping bag with the mixture and pipe out the cake rounds (I'm doing 2 thin ones)

and then pipe out your fingers (you want them to be fairly even in length as they will be used to decorate the outside of the cake). Pipe the rounds so they are about 1 inch smaller than the diameter of your springform pan. You can just make all fingers if you want to go for a more traditional tiramisu layered in a square pan.
-Lightly sprinkle the tops of the ladyfingers with powdered sugar, and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes at 425f.
-Cool on a rack and if not using the same day, store in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers.
*Please note, I had forgotten that my original recipe was more of a production recipe (I haven't made these in ages) so the amount of batter I have is insane. I have halved the recipe here for you, so don't worry if your batter appears to be a bit less than what I have. I have ladyfingers coming out of my ears.....I'll be freezing them. No wonder my arm hurt from whisking the yolks. Don't be surprised if you see them show up in the future*

Now that you have your dainty little ladyfingers, you can make the tiramisu soaking syrup and the wonderful loverly insides.

Soaking syrup for the Ladyfingers:

2 cups of coffee or espresso (I had espresso powder on hand, so I made 2 cups of it)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Rum (some people use marsala in the syrup, some people use rum, some people use other things....depends on how you are feeling or what you have on hand)
-Mix these three together and if you feel the need to adjust sugar amounts or other amounts, do so. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer until the mixture is reduced by about 1/4. Place in a shallow container for dipping if you are using all finger shaped ladyfingers , or in something else if you are using ladyfinger rounds (really like a sponge cake) and will be brushing on the syrup.

And now for the mascarpone goodness...

Tiramisu Filling (I made a double batch of this because I was being very enthusiastic, the single batch listed here should be plenty)

3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cups sugar
1 container mascarpone cheese (16 ounces or about 2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp orange liqueur (you don't have to add liqueur to the filling, I just like the slight citrus touch it could also add marsala wine, or rum, or whatever you feel like adding..)
-Beat the yolks and 1/2 cup sugar by hand -or with your mixer and a whip attachment- until the yolks are thick and light in color (just like you did for the ladyfingers).
-Add the mascarpone to the yolk mixture and beat until just blended.
-Whip the heavy cream and liqueur (if you are adding booze) in a chilled bowl by hand or machine until it holds soft peaks.
-Whip the egg whites in your mixer with the whisk attachment until they are just foamy and then slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar while whipping on high speed. You want medium peaks again, as for the ladyfingers.
-Fold the heavy cream into the mascarpone and yolk mixture, sacrificing 1/4 of it first to lighten and then gently folding in the rest. Then fold the whites into this mixture.
*the filling does have raw eggs in it, so if this bothers you, there are other recipes you can find online that use no eggs*

Begin Assembly.

Springform mold: Take the first cake layer you piped and place it in the bottom of the spring form mold. Place a ring of ladyfingers around the edge of the pan. Brush the cake layer with the coffee syrup until it has had a fairly good soaking and spread 1/3 of the tiramisu filling over the top. Repeat this with the remaining layers ending with a layer of tiramisu filling.
Generously sift cocoa powder over the top, gently cover and chill for 6 hours or overnight to allow it to set up. Decorate with chocolate shavings or strawberries or however you would like. This is not really a firm set, so if you go this route, take care when you slice the "cake" as it will be soft, but not unmanageable. I skipped the berries and chocolate shavings for my presentation, however I think a few chocolate shavings would be really really nice. And maybe a raspberry or two as well.

Layers of ladyfingers: dip each ladyfinger into the coffee syrup and place in the bottom of a square pan. Cover the layer of fingers with half the mascarpone mixture, do one more layer of ladyfingers, one more layer of mascarpone. Sift cocoa powder over the top and allow to chill for 6 hours to overnight.

Happy Baking, and Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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Nicole said...

Wow! I can't believe you did this all from scratch! Looks so good and makes me homesick for Italy!!

Nicole said...

Forgot to say happy valentine's day!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Hi Nicole! Happy Valentine's Day back atcha :). I'm sorry you are homesick for Italy! Too bad I can't float a slice of this down the coast to you :).

RecipeGirl said...

Hey There, Just discovered your blog! Looks like it was good timing w/ you writing again.

You made your own ladyfingers?? I've never even thought to do that! Nice job :)

Tomorrow I'll be blogging about the Meyer Lemon Loaf that you made a while back... yours was the inspiration, so I'll post a link to your blog from my post.

I'll come back and visit often now that I know about you :)

Aran Goyoaga said...

Hi jen-
I just arrived to your blog through tartellet's blog and I'm so glad! I love tiramisu, this one looks fantastic and I was thinking about making ladyfingers today! I am making a charlotte this week and I was thinking about my ladyfinger recipe. I need to read yours too.

This blog looks great and the apple bundt cake looks so moist in that first photo. Yum...

Great job! I will be following you!

Joe said...


Your blog has been added to the blog map at

Feel free to create a link so every one can see or add your friends blogs with the Add link

at the top of the map. Your blog description can be edited at


Matthew S. Urdan said...

wow! this has got to be the best tiramisu recipe I've ever seen. It looks amazing! Thanks for all the photos and the time you took to compose this blog entry!

This is an awesome site. I found you by browsing on Blog Explosion. Since you are really into food, I think you'll be interested in FohBoh,, which is the International Social Network Site for the Restaurant Industry and Foodies everywhere. I think you would definitely find value on the site you could incorporate into your blog. And, this Tiramisu recipe and how-to should really be posted on FohBoh! Cheers!

Shayne said...

I am so happy to see that yo uhave bben back with a few new posts, I have to say I missed you.

Your yarn looks great adn if I ever get to the point where I can knit a scarf without dropping a ton of stitches and and keep the tention even I will get some of it, it is beautiful

ivan said...

hey i'm going to try baking this tiramisu! the only problem is i don't know how big the springform you used is =/

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Recipegirl: Thank you! I hope that lemon loaf turned out well for you. I've got some meyer lemons just waiting to be turned into something soon :).

Aran: Thank you so much for the compliments! I'm hoping to update the page again in the next week.

Thank you Shayne! I'm glad to be back, even it is just a few posts here and there :). And thank you for the yarn compliments. I'm trying to find a balance between spinning, knitting and baking. Spinning really seems to be winning at the moment.

Ivan: Hello! I used a 10 inch springform pan, but you could use about any size and pipe the rounds accordingly :). Happy baking!

ivan said...

hi! i just came back from four hours of baking the tiramisu and my kitchen looks like a battlefield now =( i have one question though! do you have like a few ovens to use at one go? because the batter for my ladyfingers turned fluid by the time i could bake enough ladyfingers, and so they kind of failed spectacularly. the mascarpone cream was excellent though!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Hi Ivan! Oh my how I wish I had one big oven or two ovens! I only have one very small oven that I have to bake sheet pans of things one at a time if I want even heat on all parts of the pan. The only thing I can think of for the ladyfingers is if the egg whites were either overbeaten or underbeaten they would have deflated that way. Tis difficult to pinpoint it though. I too had a bit of a battlefield look to my tiny kitchen when I was finished! I'm happy you did like the mascarpone cream!

ifoods chef said...

i loved your recipe on tiramisu!!! it really is so well made with lots of thought and very beautiful as well! I just started a video recipe site that shows you step by step how to make stuff, and i also started out as a blogger so it's great seeing other bloggers doing well, keep up the good work"

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

Make your own lady I've heard it all. You deserve a medal. The tiramisu will make me in the middle of the night.

Polliwoggy said...

Hey, lovely Barmy lady. I just tagged you on my blog, if you're up for it. I thought I might lure you into blogging again :). Hope you're well.

ivan said...

oh barmy baker please come back again! hungry to see more of your baking!

nerinossa said...

-In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whipping attachment (Or you can whisk by hand if you are strong of wrist, I whisked these by hand because, well, as I said earlier, I'm just plain nuts) place the egg yolks and 3 ounc
es of sugar

PDN Inquiry said...

wow, that's amazing. I haven't tried a Tiramisu (shame on me), but I definitely am up to it!! Lolz, it looks really delicious.

Wservir said...

Boa tarde,

O seu blog / Site chamou a atenção dos nossos colaboradores pela qualidade das suas receitas.

Ficaríamos muito gratos se você regista-se o seu site / blog no

Ptitchef é um diretório com as melhores referências de sites de cozinha na web. Centenas de blogs espalhados pelo mundo já estão registados, aproveite para conhecer o site Ptitchef.( ou

Para se inscrever no Petitchef clique aquí ou no link e clique em "Adicionar o seu blog-site" sobre a barra laranja.



Talita said...

Gorgeous tiramisu! Looks so delicious... Yuuummmy!
Visit my new blog, Chocorango said...

Tiramisu is my all time favorite desert. This looks like a great rendition. Nice photography

Anonymous said...

wow looks really yummyyyyyy ! thx for ur help ! i will do this tiramisu this san valentines =) !

Anonymous said...

Please update your site :)... I've already seen everything on the site twice and could use some more.


DaviMack said...

I second the motion! Quick, somebody pay moonlightbaker for some yarn or something! ;)

vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM!!! YUM!!!.
We would like to add it to the

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,


vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM!!! YUM!!!.
We would like to add it to the

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,


Purple Dots Cupcake said...

Your tiramisu looks delish! I can't believe you made your ladyfingers, now that's baking from scratch =).

Anonymous said...

This looked great so I made it...scratch lady fingers and all. Ive made tiramisu quite a few times and while they are all time consuming this may have taken the cake. And not to mention I may have used every bowl in my kitchen..:) But...there is something quite satisfying about making the cookies yourself.

The mascarpone filling tasted amazing!!! Will be having it today...I'm sure it will be amazing and worth all the work.

Only had one issue with the cookies...they didn't rise very well. I suspect it was because I opted to used the convection bake option on my oven as I had so many trays to bake...(never have much success with convection for baking). I imagine if I used regular bake setting might have worked better (and taken much longer)

Thanks for the recipe!