The most popular dessert in Italy was finally given its own day in 2017 by the restaurant Eataly – 21 March. While popular, the origins of this sweet dessert are unclear. To find who created Tiramisu will depend on whom you ask.
Tiramisu in Italian literally translates into pick me up – tira (to pick), mi (me), and su (up). It was used as a way of perking people up when they felt under the weather. While the latest recipes include liqueur, there was no alcohol in the original recipe as it was given to people (including children) as a pick me up.
Tiramisu is a pudding like dessert made from sponge cake or lady fingers dipped in coffee. The lady fingers are layered with rich custard and grated chocolate. In later years the custard was replaced with mascarpone cheese and the coffee with espresso liqueur to entice a more adult audience.
The original Tiramisu was served in a glass and instead of mascarpone cheese, they used a rich custard.
So where did Tiramisu originate? The Italians can agree the delicious dessert was born in northern Italy. By whom? That is still debatable.
One theory is that tiramisu can be dated back to 1800 in Treviso to a brothel, of all places. The story goes that a Madame of one of the brothels created the dessert as an aphrodisiac to help her customers reenergise themselves after – well (fill in the blanks) – to enable their return home to their wives with no suspicion of how they spent their time.
This 19th century natural viagra is the most interesting origin for the most popular dessert in Italy and it was soon added to the dessert menu of restaurants across Treviso.
But there are a couple of later claims to the dessert.
Sometime between 1940 and 1950 Chef Marco Cosolo was said to create the recipe in his restaurant, Al Vetturino de Pieris, in the Friuli-Venezia Guilla region of Veneto.
In 1960, Chef Roberto Linguanotto created his own Tiramisu dessert at his restaurant Le Beccherie Treviso in Veneto.
No matter where or when it was created, the Italians agree that Tiramisu is their most famous dessert.
To make your own Italian dessert and celebrate Tiramisu Day at home; below is the basic recipe.
- 500g mascarpone cheese
- 6 egg yolks
- 200g sugar
- 300g lady fingers (or sponge cake cut into fingers)
- Bitter cofffee
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Beat eggs and sugar together until fluffy. Add the mascarpone and blend to a smooth consistency.
- Prepare the coffee as per jar instructions.
- Dip the lady fingers briefly in the coffee mixture and place it onto a tray. Cover with the cream mixture. Repeat with a second layer of coffee dipped lady fingers.
- Sprinkle cocoa powder on top.
- Place tray into the fridge to set.
- Then serve and enjoy with a glass of sparkling Prosecco (or beverage of your choice).
Happy Tiramisu Day!
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