No doubt everyone these days is familiar with the traditional Italian dessert Tiramisu. I love Tiramisu, not only for its ironic combination of creaminess and airiness, but also for its ease of preparation and versatility. There are so many variations that one could make of this dessert, simply by altering the amounts of some of its key ingredients. You could use more or less coffee. For the alcohol, you could use brandy, or rum, or kahlua – or just omit it altogether in favor of the coffee flavor. You can vary the ratio of mascarpone to cream; you can make this dessert with eggs, the traditional way, or without eggs, which I vastly prefer. And of course, you could make it the right way, with lady finger (savoiardi) cookies, drenched in espresso, or take the alternative route of using sponge-cake (blah!) as the base. This final point, I have found, tends to be the one of greatest contention amongst self-proclaimed Tiramisu aficionados. But one way to get around this dilemma is to omit the cakey base altogether and serve tiramisu, or as I like to call it, Tiramousse, in a cup. This dessert is easy to make, presents beautifully, and is so good that you don't even miss the coffee-soaked cake base of a traditional Tiramisu. The only down-side to this dessert is that it is decidedly more-ish, so it's best made in small quantities, at infrequent intervals, and when there are plenty of friends around to share it with. With that disclaimer, here's my recipe for Tiramousse. And one more note, do let me know when you're going to be making some – I just may have to drop by to say hello ;-)
P.S. Happy birthday Dad…this one's for you!
4 T mascarpone cheese at room temperature. This is available in most grocery stores these days.
½ C heavy whipping cream, chilled
A tiny, tiny pinch of salt
4 T granulated sugar, or more if you like your desserts extra sweet
1 T rum (or brandy or kahlua)
2 tsp instant coffee powder (or more if you want a very strong coffee flavor)
Optional for serving: a little bit of chocolate ganache made by melting 2 T chocolate chips in 4T heavy whipping cream
10 minutes before you start, chill a bowl and beaters for whipping cream.
Mix mascarpone with sugar, coffee, and rum, and refrigerate while you whip cream.
Add the tiny pinch of salt to a chilled bowl.
(Traditional wisdom suggests that this helps the cream whip faster and lighter. I've verified this in my own test kitchen, but I'm unable to find an explanation for why this may be. Any suggestions?)
Add chilled cream to the bowl, and beat at the highest speed until you have a stiff-ish whipped cream.
(Do not overwhip, as you may end up with butter, which, while delicious, will not help you with this recipe.)
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Serve in bowls or glasses, garnished with chocolate ganache, if desired.
You can also make this ahead of time, spoon the tiramousse into your serving bowls and keep refrigerated upto 8 hours.