'I miss you every Christmas day,' said my former sister-in-law, Anita, as she hugged me goodbye after we had caught up recently. 'And I especially miss your Tiramisu,' she added, with a wink and a smile.
Tiramisu is among the most-requested desserts on my repertoire and I've been making it now for, let's see, oh... about forty years. So, yes, I consider that it is one of my specialties.
The cream for this classic Italian dish is traditionally made with raw eggs, which are whipped separately to a sweet and delicious mousse consistency before being added to Marsala-infused mascarpone.
Given the delicate state of my immune system these days, I thought it best that I look for an alternative to the raw eggs, which should never be consumed by anyone who might be at risk of salmonella poisoning. That is, pregnant women, young children, the elderly and those suffering from any kind of immune deficiency diseases, like me.
Zabaglione, Zabaione (Italian) or Sabayon (French) is a lightly cooked custard-like sauce made from egg yolks whipped with caster sugar and a little alcohol in a copper or stainless steel boil suspended over barely simmering water. I adore it and thought it would sit beautifully in a Tiramisu with my homemade mascarpone and some whipped cream. It takes patience and a little practice to get it right, but after you've made it a few times, you won't look back.
Of course Tiramisu can be served all year round, but it does seem to be hugely popular in the Festive season, which is approaching all too rapidly. Happy cooking, dear friends.
My recipe for Tiramisu made with Zabaglione mascarpone cream...
TIRAMISU WITH ZABAGLIONE MASCARPONE CREAM
1/2 cup strong black espresso coffee (cooled)
2 tablespoons Kahlua
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
110g/12 Savoiardi Italian sponge finger biscuits
5g dark chocolate, for grating
For the Zabaglione:
3 large free-range egg yolks
1/4 cup vanilla infused caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons Marsala, if using
For the cream:
3/4 cup cream, whipped
Combine the coffee with the Kahlua and the vanilla extract in a shallow dish and set it aside.
Next, make the Zabaglione. Combine the egg yolks and caster sugar in a stainless steel or copper bowl which you have sat over a pan of gently simmering water. Take care that the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Add the marsala, if using. Whisk constantly for ten minutes or more, until the mixture thickens to a pale, light but thick and fluffy mousse. Take care not to let it boil, burn or scramble.
Add a serving spoon of the whipped cream to the slightly cooled Zabaglione and fold it through. Then mix the rest of the whipped cream into the bowl. Now, fold in the mascarpone, mixing well but taking care not to beat the air out of the cream.
To assemble the dessert, have an attractive serving dish ready. Dip six of the sponge finger biscuits into the coffee/Kahlua mixture and arrange them over the base of the dish. Spoon half the Zabaglione mascarpone cream over the biscuits and grate some chocolate over the top of that layer. Now dip the remaining sponge finger biscuits into the coffee/Kahlua mixture and arrange them over the top of the cream. Finish with the rest of the Zabaglione mascarpone cream, smoothing the top neatly with a spatula. Grate the rest of the chocolate over the top.
Cover the dish with a sheet of cling wrap and refrigerate the Tiramisu for several hours. This quantity will serve 4-6, depending on appetites. By all means double the quantities if you need to.
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Chilling time: 6 hours or so.
Note, I have always preferred to use Kahlua instead of Marsala in my Tiramisu. Of course you can use Marsala if you wish.
Tell me dear readers, do you love zabaglione and tiramisu as much as I do? And do you worry about consuming raw eggs?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.