Tiramisu was the very first recipe I posted on this blog, 5 years ago. I don't have much time to promote my blog, so likely as few people read my blog now as then, but I don't mind. Those of you who do, I am extremely grateful for, and blogging inspires and fuels my creative side.
So, we return to tiramisu. I always think of it as an extremely complex dessert, and fix it rarely, but when I do whip it up I am always reminded of its simplicity. It's one of Zach's favorite desserts, so I thought it would make a nice surprise for him arriving home after a 15 hour night shift in the VA hospital ICU.
There are plenty of tiramisu recipes that are filled with terrifying amounts of heavy cream, but we like this lighter version even more than the cream-filled restaurant concoctions. Zach prefers rich and creamy desserts to very sweet desserts, so this recipe is heavy on the coffee and not very sweet - you can stir in more sugar to taste if you like. I should also add that I am a baker but not a cake decorator - spreading frosting is a challenge I put on par with scaling Mount Everest. My desserts always claim to taste scrumptious, but never pretend to be the platonic ideal of beauty. Yet even for me tiramisu emerges looking pleasantly aesthetic - the filling in this recipe is wonderfully easy to work with and spreads beautifully. You must put the cocoa power on the top too - it's such a lovely flourish, and it is quite fun to dust cocoa powder through a fine mesh sive and make a glorious mess across the countertop.
Light and Fluffy Tiramisu
1/2 cup water
2 rounded T instant coffee
2 T turbinado sugar
2 T kahlua
3.5 oz tub of mascarpone cheese
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 + 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 T Kahlua
Approximately 34 ladyfingers
In a small saucepan, bring the water, coffee granules, and sugar to a boil, and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the kahlua, and set aside to cool completely. You can cover and place in the fridge if you want to hurry it along.
Beat together the mascarpone cheese and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the sugar and kahlua until smooth.
To assemble, place a layer of ladyfingers, flat side up, in an 8x8" baking dish. If you are a bit OCD like me, you will find making a complete layer challenging...
Drizzle half of the coffee syrup over the ladyfingers. If you are still OCD like me, transfer the coffee syrup from the saucepan to a measuring cup before pouring - it will be easier to pour, and then you will be able to tell when you have used precisely half of the syrup.
Spread half of the cream filling over the ladyfingers. I found it was easiest to divide the filling in half, then divide each half into quarters. I then mentally divided my pan into quadrants, placed one of each half-quarter (yes, also known as an eighth) into the center of each quadrant, and then spread the 4 dollops to meet in the middle. Or you could just go for it.
Repeat the process with the remaining layer of ladyfingers, coffee syrup, and cream filling.
Dust the top with cocoa powder.
Carefully cover, chill for 2 hours, and serve cooled!