Tiramisu and a Birthday

Hi! My name is Jessica, I’m 28-years-old young, and I have a confession to make. See that dessert up there? It’s homemade tiramisu and my husband and I just devoured it. As I type there are—maybe—three rows of ladyfingers left. Calories don’t count on your birthday, right?
Yup, today’s my birthday! My wonderful husband took leave today as a gift for me. We were going to spend the day in Venice, but instead we enjoyed a day off in the middle of the week by sleeping in, having a lavish breakfast (more on that in a bit), and lounging around in our PJs until the afternoon.
As far as breakfast was concerned, Kenny brought Cracker Barrel all the way to Italy! Since we couldn’t enjoy their white rocking chairs and hang out in their general store, this was the next best thing. We had a generous spread of biscuits and sausage gravy, grits, hashbrown casserole, bacon, sausage, and even the “eggs in a basket” that I love so much. Breakfast rocked.
Several hours later…once we could actually move again from being so stuffed, I dug into my birthday “cake.” I’ve never been one for enjoying a traditional cake, so I figured I’d make my own treat this year. Since we’re living in Italia I went with one of my absolute favorite desserts: tiramisu. 
I know this may sound crazy, but I’ve tried tiramisu dozens of times out here—whenever a restaurant has it you can bet I’ll be tasting it—but this is still my favorite version. It takes a little time to make it (I’ve lost patience before and it turned out “soupy” instead of awesome), but it’s also ridiculously easy. Surprisingly easy, actually. 
So today, on a day when I received the gift of life—thanks mama and papa!—and several other wonderful presents, I want to share this recipe with you. The original recipe is for twice this much, but I can’t even think of what would happen if we had that much in our house. This should probably serve at least six people, but fair warning: it’s addictive, delicious, and you may be shocked when you look down and see that there’s only one piece left!
Adapted from Black Cat Kitchen. Originally from Cook’s Illustrated November & December 2007 issue
1 1/4 cups strong brewed coffee, room temperature
3/4 Tbsp instant espresso granules
5 Tbsp kahlua
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
½ Tbsp vanilla
12 ounces (340 grams) marscapone (Italian cream cheese)
6 Tbsp cold heavy cream
30(ish) hard ladyfingers (savoiardi)
1 Tbsp cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
Stir coffee, espresso, and 3 tablespoons kahlua in a wide bowl or baking dish until espresso dissolves; set aside.
In large bowl, beat yolks at low speed until just combined. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once or twice.
Add vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons kahlua; beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape bowl. Add marscapone and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.
In now-empty bowl (no need to clean bowl), beat cream at medium speed until frothy, around 2 minutes. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks, around another 2 minutes longer. Using rubber spatula, fold one-third of whipped cream into marscapone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set marscapone mixture aside.
Drop bottom layer of ladyfingers (one at a time) into coffee mixture, roll/flip over, remove and transfer to 11×7-inch casserole dish. (Do not submerge ladyfingers in coffee mixture; entire process should take no longer than 2 to 3 seconds for each cookie.) Arrange soaked cookies in single layer in baking dish, breaking or trimming ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into dish.
Spread half of marscapone mixture over ladyfingers; use rubber spatula to spread mixture to sides and into corners of dish and smooth surface. Sprinkle some cinnamon and 1/2 tablespoon cocoa over marscapone.
Repeat dipping and arranging ladyfingers; spread remaining marscapone mixture over ladyfingers and dust with remaining cocoa and cinnamon. Wipe edges of dish with dry paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours Serve chilled. 


  1. oh my goodness all that food looks delicious!! And calories don't count on birthdays, holidays or vacations! Happy Birthday!

  2. I didn't know that you loved Tiramisu as much as I do! When I come to visit, that's all I'll need to eat. So glad you had a good birthday – and when you come home, Kenny can make breakfast for me, too!
    Love ya

  3. Sounds like a delicious birthday! I also LOVE tiramisu, my husband and I had it as our wedding "cake." When I was in Italy I ate tiramisu a 100 times and had a 100 different versions. My favorite was from a tiny little place in Vernazza, Cinque Terre.

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