One year ago today, a friend and I strolled through the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. We wandered lazily, with nowhere to go, and nowhere to be. We talked about everything, and nothing. I’m sure we talked about something… or maybe not at all.
The evening air was cool and clean, and as the glow of the sun faded across the tops of the buildings we found ourselves drawn into a cozy little restaurant, the warm ambiance beckoning us in from the streets. Looking for something sweet, we pushed our menus aside and ordered nothing but dessert – a simple tiramisu, to share.
One year ago today, The Boyfriend and I had our first date.
Tiramisu wasn’t only the first dessert we shared, back on May 14th 2011 – it was also the first dessert I made for him, several weeks later.
Pan-seared sea scallops over wilted greens and parmesan risotto, with white wine, tiramisu and fresh raspberries to finish. This was the first meal I made in The Boyfriend’s kitchen, and his first taste of what things might be like with me in his life. Sweet, simple, and delicious – how could anyone say no?
I didn’t have the blog back then, but for some reason I still insisted on photographing the meal. Perhaps I was just that pleased with myself, but more likely I was desperate to remember every detail of our days together.
In honor of our one year anniversary, I could think of no better way to celebrate than to sit down with this fantastic treat, a glass of wine, and our memories. Reminiscing over the past, and toasting to the future. It’s been one hell of a year – cheers!
Note that despite my deceptive title, this recipe makes one 9×13 pan full – far more than two serving sized portions. Enough to feed two for a week, or twelve for a day.
Adapted from: Gastronomer’s Guide
Makes one 9×13 pan full, about 12 servings
4 large eggs, room temperature, separated*
1 cup + 1 TBSP granulated sugar, separated
16 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 cups espresso or dark brewed coffee
3/4 cup coffee liqueur (i.e., Kahlua)**
1 package (50 count) ladyfingers (can be substituted with layers of sponge cake)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional – not traditional, but I like it)
Cocoa powder or dark chocolate for garnish
Fresh fruit, berries, mint leaves, powdered sugar, etc. – to garnish (optional)
*Recipe contains raw eggs – I’ve included instructions within the recipe on how to omit these.
**Can be substitute in part or in whole with other flavored liquors – Irish Cream, Amaretto Rum, etc. – or omitted entirely for an alcohol-free dessert. If leaving this out, you may need a little more coffee.
1. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until pale, fluffy, and light, 10-12 minutes.
*If you are concerned about raw eggs, place bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Beat yolks and sugar over double-boiler until pale, and smooth ribbons fall from the beaters when turned off and lifted. Remove from double-boiler, and continue with recipe.
Add the mascarpone cheese, and beat on low speed until incorporated and smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. If using a hand-mixer, this may take a few minutes – be sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl so no moisture settles there. Note that if you are using the same bowl or beaters, they must be thoroughly cleaned first – if any yolks or fat come into contact with the whites, they will not whip!
*If you are concerned about raw eggs, omit the whites and replace them with 1 cup heavy whipping cream. Whip cream to medium-stiff peaks, and continue as directed.
3. Using a flexible rubber spatula, fold half of the whipped egg whites into the custard to lighten it. Fold in the second half, until smooth and fully incorporated.
4. In a large bowl (or the same bowl you used for the whites) combine heavy cream, 1 TBSP sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract, if using. Optionally, you can add another TBSP of liqueur. Beat on medium-high speed to stiff peaks.
5. In a shallow dish, combine the coffee and liqueur (if using). Dunk the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture, letting them soak up some of the liquid. Don’t submerge them for more than 10-15 seconds, as you want them to hold some of their texture and not fall apart.
6. Place the ladyfingers in rows across the bottom of a 9×13 pan (or into the bottom of a trifle glass), breaking them in half if necessary to fully cover the bottom. Spread half of the egg and mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, then repeat with another layer of soaked ladyfingers and the last of the egg and mascarpone mixture on top. Spread whipped cream over the top of the layered pan – this should fill the pan all the way to the rim. Dust with cocoa powder, or shavings for garnish.
7. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight, before serving.