Pasta isn’t the only dish that Italy has perfected. It has also mastered the sweetest meal of the day: dessert. Using these seven recipes, you can learn the basics, like tiramisu and biscotti, or you can take your baking game up a notch by preparing semifreddo and the ever-popular Sicilian cannoli. Whether you’d like to end your day on a stunningly sweet note or simply want to enjoy a mid-afternoon treat, these enticing Italian desserts are sure to cure your sugar cravings!
According to Joy of Baking, tiramisu was invented in the 1960s at a restaurant in Treviso, Italy, called El Touga. Tiramisu means “pick me up” or “carry me up,” which most likely refers to the caffeine and alcohol incorporated in this dessert dish. In Cooking Channel’s tiramisu, egg whites, sugar, mascarpone, and rum, if using, are mixed together, creating a rich and creamy filling. Ladyfingers are dipped in brewed coffee and are then placed on a tray, creating the base for this dessert dish. Top with the mascarpone, dust with cocoa powder, and repeat the process again. Do note that you do not want to soak your ladyfingers in coffee; it’s important that they maintain their firmness. The recipe yields 8 servings.
- 3 cups brewed coffee, cooled
- 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
- 5 eggs, separated
- 14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
- 4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
- 2 shots rum or Italian Marsala, optional
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish
Directions: First prepare the coffee using a coffee machine big enough to serve 12; pour it in a bowl and allow to cool off, add 2 tablespoons sugar or sweeten to taste. Mix the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and mix until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg mixture and continue to mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture. Stir in the rum, if using. Dip the savoiardi cookies in the coffee, and one by one lay them flat into a 7-by-11 pyrex tray, making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness. Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream, and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.