This is one of my favorite desserts to make (and to eat)! My mom used to make this when I was growing up and even before I liked coffee, I loved tiramisu. It's a classic Italian dessert, although you can find it most places in the US. The dessert has alcohol in it, but it's such a small amount that I've served this dessert to pregnant women, recovering alcoholics, and children without problem. If you're really concerned about the alcohol you can omit it, but it adds a delicious flavor. The most commonly available coffee liqueur is kahlúa, but I always recommend using something local whenever you can. You can usually find mini-bottles of it at liquor stores (get 2-3). 

The only thing I don't like about tiramisu is that the ingredients can be difficult to track down. Mascarpone cheese is usually found in the "fancy cheese" section of groceries stores like Kroger or Trader Joe's. Unopened, it lasts for months. Ladyfingers can be very difficult to find if you don't know where to look. I've found them near the bakery, in the Italian food section (near pasta and gnocchi), and cookie aisle because they are shelf stable. (Local friends, they have them at the Dekalb Farmer's Market). They can also be "seasonal" at Trader Joe's and other grocery stores although I have no idea why. If you can't find them, sponge cake thinly sliced will also work. I'd recommend getting both of these ingredients in advance so you aren't running around grocery stores in a panic.

This recipe takes a bit of technique to get a hold of. The whipped cream and cheese can be particularly difficult to spread out, so don't worry if that happens. Just work slowly and spread in small strokes until it covers the whole pan. The key to soaking the ladyfingers is to only dip them for a quick second. If you let them soak too long, they will get mushy. It's tempting to let them soak for longer thinking it will add to the flavor, but it really doesn't. Work quickly!

Tiramisu must be refrigerated for several hours before it is ready to serve but can last in the refrigerator for several days. I


Total Time: 5 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 10
Difficulty: Intermediate
Adapted From: Allrecipes.com

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lb mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee, room temp.
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
2 (3 oz) packages ladyfinger cookies
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
2. In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
3. In a flat bottom bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise (unless the ladyfingers you've selected don't cut easily, then use as is) and quickly soak coffee mixture, flipping once. 
4. Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of a 7x11 inch dish. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and dust with cocoa powder.
5. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set.