Because Americans seemed to get a great deal of comfort from sweet dishes, the simple but rich Italian semifreddo (chilled) pudding called tiramisù became very fashionable. It had indeed been a trendy dessert at the most high-tech restaurants before the Crash, but didn’t catch on nationwide until after. It helped that the dessert is made with mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese that was very trendy.
Tiramisù, Café Louis
I have usually steered clear of recipes using raw eggs for health reasons. Unfortunately, most recipes for tiramisù, including this delicious one from Chef Louis Hernandez of Hoboken’s Café Louis, uses uncooked beaten egg whites to lighten the mixture. In place of the egg whites, you could substitute 1 cup heavy cream, whipped, which makes a much richer dessert. For a lighter touch, you could substitute that old-time stand-in for whipped cream, whipped evaporated milk.
5 large eggs, separated
½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
6 cups brewed espresso, at room temperature
¼ cup Kahlua or Grand Marnier
72 small ladyfingers
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
Chocolate Sauce (below)
Whipped cream and whole strawberries for garnish
In the top of a double boiler, over but not in simmering water, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until they are hot, thick, and lemon colored. Turn the egg yolk mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the mascarpone. Whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold them into the mascarpone mixture.
Pour the espresso into a bowl and stir in the liqueur. Dip 24 of the ladyfingers one at a time into the espresso mixture, and place them on the bottom of a 9 × 12-inch pan (you should have two rows of 12 ladyfingers). Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Dip the next 24 ladyfingers into the espresso mixture and place them over the mascarpone mixture in the pan. Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the top of the ladyfingers. Dip the last 24 ladyfingers into the espresso mixture and place them over the mascarpone mixture. (You should now have two layers of the mascarpone mixture sandwiched between three layers of ladyfingers.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, cut the Tiramisù into 12 pieces and put them on individual plates. Sprinkle each piece with cocoa powder, spoon some Chocolate Sauce over the top of each, and garnish with whipped cream and strawberries.
Makes 12 servings
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Put the cream and sugar into a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter, stirring until melted. Cool to room temperature.
Makes 1 cup