Tiramisu is one of those classically graceful desserts that bring to mind specific situations and memories. Somewhere deep in the heart of Italy, sheets of crisp, light pastry slide out of ovens as mascarpone cream is whipped and set near sun-warmed windowsills, waiting for the morning bustle of early bakery regulars. And when the last bite disappears, Italy fades away, but there is still a satisfaction that lingers in the pit of your stomach, a happiness that only good food can inspire.
Tiramisu in its original form starts with layers of coffee-dipped ladyfingers, a crisp, sponge-like, light cookie that retains just the right amount of moisture. Smoothed over the row of ladyfingers is a layer of rich mascarpone cheese, similar to whipped cream but with a more complex flavor. Often, in between the layers of ladyfingers and mascarpone is a light dusting of cocoa powder, or a few sprinkles of chocolate pieces.
The layers are sealed with a final layer of mascarpone, and then the dish is commonly drizzled with a chocolate ganache or sprinkled with a liberal helping of chocolate curls.
The original tiramisu is hard to make because the ladyfingers require specific temperatures and times to bake properly, and mascarpone cheese can be hard to come by in everyday grocery stores. However, the flavors within tiramisu can be easily replicated at home or in Commons.
In Commons you can easily replace ladyfingers by making a waffle. While the waffle irons are working their magic, get a mug of coffee and shake a small spoonful of cocoa powder into it. Stir well.
Once the waffles are done cooking, rip them up into pieces that could fit in a paper cup and dip them into the coffee for a couple seconds. Take out the waffle pieces and press them into the bottom of a paper cup until the bottom is completely covered. In a soup bowl, mix together a hefty scoop of whipped cream and a little cream cheese. Stir this mixture until it is completely combined.
Spread the cream mixture on the waffle layer that you pressed into the paper cup until all you can see is white. Then sprinkle a light dusting of cocoa powder onto the “mascarpone cheese.”
Keep repeating the entire layering process, with the waffles layer, cream layer and chocolate dusting layer, until you reach the top of the paper cup. Be sure to end with a last layer of whipped cream.
For the last ingredient, melt some chocolate, butter and whole milk together in a bowl, and whisk with a fork until the mixture is a smooth and glossy liquid. Finish your dessert by drizzling this chocolate mix over the top of the whipped cream in whatever patterns you want. You can even use the chocolate mix as an alternative to the cocoa powder in your layers.
After you are satisfied with your cup of sweetness, you can eat away. For a chilled tiramisu, just bring it back to your dorm and stick the cup in the fridge. It is delicious either way. Bon Appetit!