The Anatomy Of Tiramisu

The Anatomy Of Tiramisu featured image

When I hear “alcoholic dessert”, the first thing that comes to mind is the evergreen tiramisu.  This classic Italian no-bake dessert is made with layers of soft mascarpone cream as well as ladyfinger biscuits. It is infused with espresso coffee and liqueur, topped with a dusting of cocoa powder – a perfect mix of sweetness and bitterness. 

What exactly is a tiramisu?

The name ‘tiramisu’ actually translates to “a pick me up” in Italian, attributed to the shot of espresso in it for that kick of caffeine.

Tiramisu originated in Italy, during the 1960s to 1970s. The visionary inventor behind the dessert is unknown. However, the most agreed upon source would be Le Beccherie, a restaurant in the region of Veneto, Italy. Some beg to differ. Some even say that tiramisu was invented in a brothel in Italy owing to its effect as an aphrodisiac. Despite the dispute over the authorship of tiramisu, there is no doubt that the dessert has become a household name worldwide. So yea, before you indulge in this classy dessert after an expensive meal at a fancy Italian restaurant next time, know that it may have potentially originated from a brothel. 

Next, let’s dissect the layers!

Is tiramisu a cake? Is it a custard? Who cares; it’s delicious! Let’s take a closer look between the layers!

Ladyfingers soaked in coffee and liquor

The first component of a tiramisu would be ladyfingers, and no, I’m not talking about the vegetable. Ladyfingers, aka Savoiardi, are basically sponge cakes dried into biscuits. They are perfect for tiramisus as they are able to soak up the espresso and alcohol without turning too soggy. It also gives tiramisu its signature moist texture. If we’ve whetted your appetite already, be sure to try Signature Tiramisu Cake! It is available in different sizes to suit appetites big and small.

Mascarpone cream

The next main component of tiramisu is the mascarpone cream. Mascarpone is basically an Italian version of cream cheese and it hones a smoother consistency as well as higher fat content. Mixed with egg yolks, sugar and whipping cream, a rich and velvety mascarpone cream is formed.  For those who don’t like their cream too heavy, @b1b2.bakes has got your back with a preference for lighter cream. What’s more, she whips the cream herself for maximal deliciousness. 

Putting it all together!

The soaked ladyfingers are then layered with the smooth mascarpone cream and topped with cocoa powder before put in the refrigerator to set. The final product is a harmonious interplay among the sweet and rich mascarpone cream, the rich coffee and cocoa, and a hint of liquor to round it off. Yumms! To me, the best way to present the tiramisu is in a clear glass bottle. Don’t be surprised when you see a ‘naked’ tiramisu with their insides on display for the world to see! If you wish to let your eyes feast before devouring … take a look at @nasuhabakes Tiramisu in a bottle! We can enjoy the beauty in her simplicity, only fitting for a queen. 

New Variations

Tiramisu will forever remain a classic dessert that is loved by many. However, there are many variations of tiramisu these days, using different liquors, infusing zesty flavours or even topping them with fruits and nuts.  In the season of experimenting and having fun, @b1b2.bakes has decided to soak their ladyfingers in a mix of mulled wine and Jeju Tangerine Tea. Topped off with everyone’s favourite Lotus Biscoff Biscuit, this new addition to the team is sure to bring out the sugar, spice and all things nice!  In time with the durian season, @tiramisu.xpert is offering amazing Mao Shan Wang-Misu! They now offer additional scoops of MSW for customers that just can’t get enough of durians in their lives. For an extra alcoholic indulgence to drown your worries away (at least temporarily), they are also offering an add-on for an extra shot of Bailey’s in their other bestselling Bailey’s Tiramisu as well.  If MSW is just not your cup of tea , offers Misu So Matcha Tiramisu, infused with Japanese matcha from Kyushu to give you the ultimate matcha-in-heaven. 
Lastly, do check out @houseofsoong‘s signature tiramisu. We absolutely cannot wait to dig into this delicious looking Tiramisu, best paired with the OG Focaccia, another favorite from their menu. What is great is that its based on a recipe that will continue to evolve as they experiment and learn new techniques.

Final Thoughts

Word of advice from tiramisu lovers: do not place tiramisu beside your potted plants. When placed in a clear plastic container, topped with cocoa powder, it is no wonder that some mix it up with soil for plants. As flavourful as your tiramisu is, your plants unfortunately won’t grow.

There is even a Guinness World Record for the largest tiramisu in the world weighing in at a whopping 3,015kg. That may be just enough to last me the weekend!

If your stomach is rumbling after reading this article, why not order a tiramisu from a home baker? Head over to our Instagram page where we feature several home bakers! 
Lastly, be sure to check out our other articles on simple ways to support home bakers and why it matters.