When it comes to an iconic status, tiramisu is one of the most iconic Italian desserts. Such is its popularity that every chef worth his toque will have his own version of it and every Italian restaurant, in and out of Italy, will likely offer it.
Pick Me Up Dessert
Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian and it lives up to its name. Made from a combination of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, a whipped mixture of sugar, mascarpone cheese, and eggs, and topped with cocoa, it will really perk up your senses! The interplay between the sweetness of the sugar, the creaminess of the mascarpone cheese, and the melt-in-mouth texture of the coffee-dipped ladyfingers is a symphony in itself.
The coffee-and-cheese dessert is also the subject of debates among foodies. The source of contention: What restaurant has the best tiramisu?
Your taste will understandably differ from your fellow foodies. You may think, for example, that it’s your grandmother’s tiramisu but your friends may vote for Café Tiramisu’s fare. You can just as easily agree, too, that the tiramisu at the Bellagio is heavenly.
Perfection in Layers
Since there are dozens of versions, we have to admit that there’s no such thing as a perfect tiramisu. But we can agree that there are basic qualities common to all great tiramisu versions.
- The mascarpone, a type of cream cheese, should be creamy yet light. You shouldn’t feel like it’s leaving a heavy feeling on your tongue.
- The biscuits should be damp not wet. Too wet and these will crumble, fall apart, and leave an unpleasant texture on the mouth. Ladyfingers are the traditional biscuits used by versions made from sponge cake and graham crackers are also available. The biscuits, whatever these may be, should blend in well with the rest of the ingredients to create good harmony in flavors and textures.
- The sugar level should be balanced with coffee. Otherwise, the tiramisu can be too sweet from the sugar or too bitter from the coffee. A balance between the two ingredients is a must.
- The layers should also be well-balanced. Too much ladyfingers, for example, and the creaminess of the cheese and richness of the coffee will be overwhelmed.
- The tiramisu should have been placed in the fridge for several hours for its ingredients to blend in harmony.
Tiramisu can be a polarizing food, indeed. But when you find the right tiramisu for your taste buds, you will miss it whenever you cannot eat it for prolonged stretches of time.