Monday, March 31, 2014

Recipe: Express Tiramisu

Back in the mid-late 90s, tiramisu was the "it" dessert. And thus, it was something I consistently order every time I see it on the menu, all the while feeling very sophisticated about the layers of cake & custard, with a hit of coffee and sometimes a splash of booze.

And even though this dessert has already seen its heyday, it's still something I whip up regularly for gatherings. Just saying that you're bringing tiramisu to a party lends a whole sense of "Ooo la la," even though it's impeccably easy to make. Moreso given the time- & effort-saving shortcuts I take, which means it's really a little prep work (namely, brewing then cooling down some coffee), half an hour for mixing & assembly and then a few hours' (or overnight) in the fridge before serving.

Express Tiramisu (serves 6-8)


  • 18 ladyfinger cakes (readily available at Italian markets)
  • One 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cup espresso or strongly-brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 oz. simple syrup (1:1 sugar-water mix)
  • 3 oz. Amaretto, or your liqueur of choice (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish (I used a vegetable peeler on a bar of dark chocolate)
  1. In a shallow pan or dish, combine coffee, simple syrup and Amaretto, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, half cup of sugar and vanilla extract; mix until smooth
  3. By hand or machine, whisk together half cup of sugar with the heavy whipping cream until it has soft-to-medium peaks. Then gently fold into the cream & ricotta cheese mixture.
  4. Dip ladyfingers, one at a time, into the coffee mixture - gently rolling both sides until they start to soften, then place in a 8" x 8" dish or pan. Repeat until you have one layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers in the dish (feel free to break apart the cakes as needed to fill any big gaps or holes.)
  5. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture until the ladyfingers are no longer visible.
  6. Repeat with another layer of soaked ladyfingers & cheese mixture. 
  7. Top with chocolate shavings, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Serve chilled.