chocolate tiramisu

Had I known that my family hated tiramisu, I probably wouldn't have made it for Christmas.

I might note that this is the same family that loves coffee. And cake. And whipped cream. I'll let you ponder that one.

So, anyway, as I was saying: I made this for Christmas not knowing that my family hates tiramisu. So there we were. Post dinner and gingerly touching the tape lines of our doled-out presents, and everyone but me (who loves tiramisu) was preparing themselves to choke down the dessert.

And, now, looking back on it, I do remember some semi-private moments of them staring down the tiramisu as if it was it or them. Note that I was completely oblivious at the time.

I had half a piece down and a couple of presents ("prizies," as my family has come to call them) opened before I noticed that my stepfather was already going for slice number two, mumbling sweet nothings at the remaining coffee-laden hunk that it "just went down so fast."

I really wish I could take credit for this one, guys. And I really wish I could say this one is healthy. But this recipe is Giada's and is just perfect for a special gathering like Christmas. Give it a try when you want a spectacular dessert and can make it a day in advance. And serve it just before eating to keep it looking fresh.

While this was fantastic - yes, with italics - be warned that this one isn't for the faint of heart. It is time-consuming and dishes producing, yet it's so. so. so. worth it. Merry (caffeinated) Christmas to all!

Chocolate Tiramisu
  • 6 ounces container mascarpone cheese
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Chocolate Zabaglione, recipe follows
  • 2 1/2 cups espresso coffee, warmed (I used a bold, decaf Starbucks coffee in a pinch)
  • 24 ladyfinger cookies
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
  • Optional: dark chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. Place the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Then fold in the chilled Chocolate Zabaglione. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Whisk the warmed espresso and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in another medium bowl until blended. Line a 9 1/4 by 5 by 2 3/4-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic to extend over the sides. Working with 1 cookie at a time, dip 8 cookies into the espresso, and arrange in a single layer side by side over the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  3. Spoon 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture over the cookies to cover. Repeat dipping 8 of the cookies in the espresso and layering the cookies and remaining mascarpone mixture 2 more times. Dip the remaining 8 cookies in the espresso and arrange side by side atop the tiramisu. Press lightly to compact slightly (the last layer will extend above the pan sides). Cover the tiramisu with plastic and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
  4. Unwrap the plastic from atop the tiramisu. Invert the tiramisu onto a platter. Remove the plastic. Sift the cocoa over the tiramisu, and with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, make dark chocolate shavings and sprinkle over top.

Chocolate Zabaglione:
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream, or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • Pinch salt
  1. Add cream and chocolate to a heavy small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala, and salt in a large glass bowl until blended. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, but do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk the egg mixture over the simmering water until it is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate to chill completely.

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