It may surprise many people that there is no chocolate in traditional Tiramisu. It's all about the coffee. However, most people like chocolate and coffee together, so the chocolate version has become almost the norm.
I decided to go with a recipe from an actual Italian, namely Giada. It's very straightforward and breaks everything down into manageable steps. All the real work is done when the cream mixture is combined. The rest is just assembly.
That said, don't try to make this in one day. Because I made my own cheese (leftover milk and buttermilk, so I made quark for the mascarpone), it took almost a week. Even if you buy the ladyfingers, give yourself two days. It isn't worth the stress to try to do it in one day. For everything to set properly, you're looking at a 12-hour minimum. Actual work time is about half an hour with store-bought ladyfingers and an hour more if you make them yourself.
6 oz mascarpone
2/3 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C sugar, divided
1 batch chocolate zabaglione
1-1/2 C double-strong coffee
cocoa powder and/or chocolate shavings for garnish
1. Place mascarpone in a medium bowl and beat lightly until smooth. In another bowl, whip cream and 1/4 C sugar to firm peaks (Giada says soft, but that made the final product a bit soupy.) Fold the cream into the mascarpone until smooth. Then fold in the zabaglione until it looks a bit like chocolate mousse. Chill for 1 hour to set.
2. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing it to drape over the sides. Do a very neat job of it, as wrinkles will transfer to the finished product. I think I spent more time on this part than the assembly.
5. Spoon 1/3 of the cream over the cookies. Do another layer of dipped cookies and cream, then a third. Use remaining cookies to form a more solid base for the tiramisu. I ended up using eight along the bottom, then another six placed lengthwise on the edges. Fold up the plastic wrap, compress everything slightly to make sure there are no air bubbles, and chill for 6-8 hours. I felt mine was too soft, and froze it for the last half hour, just to be absolutely sure it wouldn't fall apart.
6. To serve, remove plastic wrap from top of loaf pan. Center on serving dish and flip over. Carefully peel off remaining plastic wrap. Dust with cocoa (which I forgot to do for the picture because I wanted to eat it!) and decorate with chocolate shavings.
Serves 8 (really Giada, 12?)
Difficulty rating :-0