Tiramisu is ubiquitous in restaurants within Italy and around the world. The translation literally is “pick me up”. Idiomatically it means something like “make me happy”. It is quite a recent invention and didn’t start to become popular both nationally and internationally until the 80s.
As with most things in Italy there is a great debate about the true origin of tiramisu(or tiramesù in the Venetian dialect). Some sources put its origin as Siena in Tuscany however I think that the most credible claim comes from Treviso, in the Veneto near to Venice. Roberto Linguanotto from the Beccherie restaurant claims to have invented it at the end of the 60s and this is his recipe. People have changed the recipe a lot over the years and the original included no cream or alcohol.
The recipe was for a restaurant size portion but I used a third of the quantities to make 6 or 7 big portions.
- 4 egg yolks
- 160 g sugar
- 330 g mascarpone
- Up to 20 Savoiardi biscuits (also known as ladyfingers)
- Enough strong unsweetened espresso coffee (ristretto) to dip the biscuits in, allowed to cool
- Unsweetened cocoa powder to dust the top
Whip the egg yolks together with the sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is stiff.
Fold in the mascarpone.
Dip half of the biscuits into the coffee. Be careful not to make them too wet as they will disintegrate. Arrange them in a single layer in a dish. Roberto recommends a round one.
Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit.
Repeat to form a second layer.
Dust the top liberally with cocoa powder.
Chill the dish in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.