French Cooking: Tiramisu

When I was living in Antibes on the Côte d’Azur, I found that many recipes featured an Italian flair, which is understandable since the Italian border is less than 45 minutes away by car. A favorite dessert found almost everywhere in the South of France is Tiramisu — also known as “Tuscan trifle.” This delightful dessert was initially created in Siena (in the northwestern province of Tuscany) for the official visit of the Grand Duke Cosimo de Medici III. The recipe was then called zuppa del duca (Duke’s soup). He brought the recipe back with him to Florence and in the 19th century, it became extremely popular among the English intellectuals and artists who were living there. Some say that Tiramisu was the favorite dessert of Venice’s courtesans. The literal translation of “tirami-su” is “a pick-me-up.” So they enjoyed this delight and ate it to fortify themselves between amorous encounters. Even though, this might not be entirely true it sure does make a colorful story. The ingredients include eggs, mascarpone, lady fingers, sugar, chocolate, espresso coffee, and rum. Mascarpone is a triple-crème cheese that is made from the milk of cows that have been fed with special grass fortified with herbs and flowers. This recipe is fairly simple and the results are exquisite! Tiramisu For 6 persons Preparation time: 30 minutes Refrigeration time: 4 hours 1/2          cup sugar 3              egg yolks 8 oz.        mascarpone cheese, softened 3              egg whites pinch of salt 8 oz.        strong espresso coffee 3 tbsp.    rum 28            lady fingers 1 cup      chocolate bar flakes 1/2 cup   cocoa (chocolate powder)   Put the sugar and egg yolks into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until they become a light pale yellow mousse. Gradually add the mousse to the mascarpone.  Mix for two minutes.  In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the mousse. Mix the coffee with the rum. Place one layer (14) of the lady fingers in a rectangular dish. Spoon 1/2 of the rum/coffee over the biscuits. Cover with 1/2 of the mascarpone/mousse and then sprinkle with 1/2 of the chocolate flakes and powder. Place another layer of the lady fingers on top. Spoon over the remaining coffee/rum mixture. Cover with the remaining mascarpone/mousse. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate flakes and cocoa. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Et voilà!
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