It is true that this blog is dedicated to Spanish cuisine in America; it is also true that some dishes have been made on both sides of the Atlantic, and beyond, for many years. Just like sangría is now made in many countries, with different variations on the original Spanish recipe (which you can find here, on this blog), I would think another of those dishes is tiramisu, an Italian dessert that has become, like many others, almost international. I make it often at home, so it has become part of my repertoire of recipes. As Christmas, and the festive days ahead, approach, with many of us hosting family and friends, this is one dessert that will not disappoint, and that can be made in large sheets and refrigerated, ready to feed a crowd. With coffee and some liquor in it, it is a crowd pleaser (and I don’t let the coffee and liquor part stop me from sharing it with my children, ha!)
This time of year is special, and very, very busy at most homes. Who doesn’t have to do some extra shopping, extra cooking, extra baking, decorating, wrapping, or getting the house ready for family and friends coming over for the holidays? Who doesn’t have to attend a number of work parties and friends’ parties, school events, concerts and recitals? Every year around this time, I wonder if I’m coming or if I’m going, if I am up or down, or somewhere in between. I try to take it easy, meditate on the meaning and the importance of the season, and promise myself to set aside some time for rest. However, this rarely happens, who knew! There’s that last Christmas card to write, last minute present to wrap, and another batch of cookies to make because the first one has disappeared in a matter of two days (am I right?)
All this, and more, are going on right now. And yet, regardless of everything that happens in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with our core family home, happiness is guaranteed. For a family who were once ex-pats before becoming American citizens, but that still resembles the UN, visitors from overseas are always a given, and gladly so. Last year we hosted my husband’s family from Canada, and this year it will be my family from Spain who will descend on Midwest America, and into our house. Laughter, happy noise, music, and much much love are a given. And so will be the delicious dishes at the table, including tiramisú, eating elbow to elbow; and the laughter and stories shared in the kitchen —sisters, cousins, husbands, and the matriarch, together again.
6 Tbs granulated sugar
2 tubs mascarpone cheese
2 cups coffee at room temperature
1 oz whisky
1 1/2 packages ladyfingers
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
Separate the yolks from the whites. In a bowl, beat the yolks with 3 Tbs sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cheese and beat until well incorporated and the mixture becomes smooth and lighter in color.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they become opaque and hold stiff, glossy peaks. You can do this with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or by hand (like I did this time, and got a good arm workout!), using a bowl large enough to allow you to comfortably whisk by hand.
Refrigerate the egg and cheese mix for about 30 minutes.
Dissolve the remaining 3 Tbs sugar in the coffee and add the whisky. One by one, dip the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture and arrange one layer in a 8×10 tray. Cover with 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture, spreading evenly. Repeat this process with two more layers of ladyfingers and finish with the last 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture. Using a small colander, sift the cocoa powder and instant coffee all over the cake. Refrigerate until ready to eat.