Tiramisu in cocktail glasses
A rich and creamy no-bake Italian cheese dessert with strong notes of espresso and vodka.
You don’t have to be a sweet, weathered Italian grandmother to make a wonderful version of this creamy, gourmet dessert. The steps are simple, and the results are gorgeous. Tiramisu can be served in square pieces, a stemmed trifle bowl, or individual cocktail glasses for a very elegant presentation. This recipe can also be made non-alcoholic, using ½ cup strong coffee in place of the liqueur.
There are several types of ladyfingers sold in stores – softer ones, and firm, crispy ones such as the Stella D’oro brand. I prefer the harder ones, as the softer kind tends to melt into the cream. Another option is to toast the softer ones to give them a little more sturdiness. Another option is to use leftover pound cake cut into cubes and toasted.
To finish off this dessert and create the trademark tiramisu top, dust with a fine layer of cocoa powder. The best way to do this is by gently shaking a sifter side to side over the top of the tiramisu. (An amateur chef I know well sprinkled the top with large chunks of cocoa and then tried blowing gently to spread it out. He ended up with a face full of cocoa, not quite the original plan.) If you don’t have a sifter, use a small strainer.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup mascarpone*
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 24 ounces lady fingers
- 1/2 cup coffee liqueur**
Fill a medium pot 1/3 to the top with water. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
Place a heat-proof bowl over the pot.
Place yolks and sugar in the bowl and whisk until combined. Reduce to low and cook 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and whip until thick and lemon-colored.
Add mascarpone to yolks. Beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold into yolk mixture.
Choose whether to create one large serving bowl, a cake-like dish that can be cut into squares, or individual portions of the tiramisu.
To serve squares, line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper or saran wrap so that it hangs over all sides. Alternatives are to use a trifle bowl, or create individual desserts using 8 martini glasses or dessert bowls.
Split ladyfingers in half and line bottom of pan, bowl or glasses with the halves. Drizzle generously with coffee liqueur.
Spoon half the cream over the ladyfingers. Repeat layers of ladyfingers, coffee, cream.
Garnish with sifted cocoa and/or chocolate shavings (optional).
* Mascarpone is an Italian-style cream cheese-like spread. If you can’t find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery, make your own by combining 1 cup cream cheese, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sour cream.
** Making your own coffee liqueur is super easy. Combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a small pot, and heat until sugar is melted. Turn off heat and stir in 1/3 cup instant coffee granules and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Add 2 cups vodka and voila – homemade Kahlua!