The Italian phrase tirami su literally translates into “pick me up” which makes sense once you hear that this espresso laden treat was served to Venetian courtesans between romantic conquests to provide them with an energy boost! Ooh la la! (no that’s French)
Actually, I haven’t been able to find evidence to support this and it appears this dessert is of more recent times. Who cares! Is what I have to say! This dessert is too good to worry about who made it first and when…
Anyway, I have always loved this dessert and have a recipe for it that is quite easy to prepare and then enjoy!
My version has light sponge lady fingers around the edge with layers of the same cake soaked with espresso flavoured simple syrup. Then there is a filling made with mascarpone and cream with a few other ingredients thrown in for good measure. I’m salivating just thinking about it so I will get the recipe typed up as quickly as possible for you! PLEASE don’t be deterred by how long this recipe looks… I have just spelled it all out step by step which makes it look a lot longer! It’s absolutely worth the effort!
2 lb. 12 oz. Ladyfinger batter
9 fluid ounces Simple Syrup
2 fluid ounces Coffee or almond liqueur
1/2 fluid ounce Coffee extract
1/2 fluid ounce Vanilla extract
3 pounds Mascarpone Cream Mousse
Chocolate Ganache for decorating
Chocolate decorations, as needed
Ladyfingers are made from a spongecake batter that is piped into finger-length strips. After baking, these soft cakes may be eaten plain as a cookie or petit four. They are equally good when dried out in the oven, like biscotti. These versatile cakes are used to line the mold for a Bavarian dessert. For convenience, the batter may be piped close together to form a strip after baking and used to line a mold or torte ring.
3 ounces Cornstarch
4 ounces Bread flour
6 Egg yolks
6 ounces Granulated sugar
6 Egg whites
1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice
1. Sift the cornstarch and flour together.
2. Whip the egg yolks with 2 ounces (60 grams) of the sugar until thick and creamy.
3. Whip the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 2 ounces (60 grams) of the sugar and the lemon juice. Continue whipping to soft peaks, then add the remaining sugar gradually and whip to stiff peaks.
4. Fold approximately one-quarter of the egg whites into the whipped yolks to lighten them, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Fold in the flour mixture.
5. Place the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe 4-inch- (10-centimeter) long cookies onto paper-lined sheet pans.
6. Bake immediately at 425°F (220°C) until lightly browned, approximately 8 minutes.
16 oz Sugar
8 oz Water
Place water and sugar into saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding flavourings.
Mascarpone Cream Filling
1 lb. 5 oz. Mascarpone , warmed to 105°F (40°C)
9 Egg yolks
8 ounces Granulated sugar
5 fluid ounces Water
1/2 ounce Sheet gelatin, softened
1 pint Heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1. Place the warmed mascarpone in a large bowl.
2. Make a bombe batter by whipping the egg yolks in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip. Cook the sugar and water in a saucepan until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage 240°F (115°C).
3. Pour the sugar syrup into the yolks, with the mixer running at high speed. Pour in a steady stream between the side of the bowl and the beater. Once all the sugar is incorporated, whip one more minute at high speed then reduce to medium speed and whip until the bombe mixture cools to approximately 110°F (49°C).
4. Add the softened sheet gelatin to the warm bombe batter. Stir until the gelatin dissolves completely.
5. Fold the bombe batter into the mascarpone cream.
1 pound Bittersweet chocolate
1 pint Heavy cream
1 fluid ounce Almond or coffee liqueur
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large metal bowl.
2. Bring the cream just to a boil, then immediately pour it over the chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula to blend. Stir gently until all the chocolate has melted.
3. Stir in the liqueur.
4. Allow to cool, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula until the desired consistency is achieved.
1. Butter and flour two paper-lined full-size sheet pans. Using a plain medium tip, pipe half of the Ladyfinger batter into 4 disks measuring 7 inches (17.5 centimeters) in diameter.
2. To make the strips of ladyfingers to line the ring mold, pipe the remaining batter into ladyfingers 4 inches (10 centimeters) long placed close together so they join at the sides and form a strip the entire length of the sheet pan. Bake as directed.
3. Lightly oil and sugar 4, 7-inch (17.5 centimeter) torte rings. Place them on a paper-lined sheet pan.
4. Cut the strip of ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Trim the strips of ladyfingers on each long edge to fit evenly inside the ring molds.
5. Position the ladyfinger strips inside the rings, cut to size to make a tight fit. Place a ladyfinger disk on the bottom of each ring.
6. Combine the simple syrup, liqueur, coffee extract and vanilla extract. Moisten the cake with half of this syrup.
7. Divide half of the Mascarpone Cream Mousse between each mold.
8. Place the second ladyfinger disk in the rings and moisten with the remaining coffee syrup.
9. Fill with the remaining Mascarpone Cream, leveling it to the rim.
10. Refrigerate or freeze the tortes for 2 hours.
11. Remove from freezer and cover the top surface with a thin layer of chocolate ganache, or sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder to garnish. Remove the rings then decorate the tortes with chocolate decorations of your choice (I made roses from chocolate modeling fondant).
I made this fancy tear shaped cake by placing cardboard and heavy plastic strips in a large 14 inch round pan to achieve the shape I wanted. LOTS of tape and smaller plastic molds were used to get the shape right.
Original recipe source: OnBaking – Labensky 2005
My friend Curt turned the big 50 recently. His wife Kristi and family threw him a party in Omaha’s Old Market area. I offered to make the cake and also wanted to surprise him by just showing up at the party.
I made him a four layer chocolate/yellow marble cake with a mild coffee flavoured ganache as filling. I also covered the cake in a ganache frosting and made chocolate tombstones as decoration. The board was also covered in a swirl of different coloured chocolate. My husband and I packed the cake in a heavy duty box surrounded by ice packs to make the long 500 mile journey from Oklahoma City to Omaha Nebraska and set off about 4:30am on the Saturday morning of the party.
The trip was going well until we were about 20 minutes south of Wichita Kansas. It had been raining heavily during the week and we totally disregarded the Turnpike truck with the big arrow on one of the side exit ramps. It wasn’t flashing or out in the middle of the interstate so all must be ok. Not two minutes later the traffic came to a halt.
So we sat on Interstate 35 North for an hour before a nice police officer came to tell us that there was impassable water over the road just ahead of us and we could drive up the inside of the trucks and turn through the 4ft high median where there was a break. Long story short… We arrived in Omaha about two hours late but they all got to enjoy the cake and Curt was really surprised. The restaurant Chef said he and the staff thought it was one of the best cakes they had tasted in a long time! Yay! Happy Birthday Curt xx.