The Ultimate Italian Dessert

Tiramisu with fruits

Can never resist a Tiramisu after dining out, more so if it is an Italian restaurant. Not surprising therefore, Tiramisu, the Italian dessert is gaining popularity in India. And not in five star hotels only. Stand alone restaurants too are contributing towards this. Can vouch for it.

Light, fluffy and delicious, this layered cake originated in Tuscany. Tiramisu is a favourite with Italian food connoisseurs and an Italian meal is not complete without this heavenly dessert! The key to preparing good tiramisu lies not in the technique, but in its composition. There are different types of tiramisu recipes besides the authentic tiramisu. The ingredients may also be varied, for example, liquor may be substituted with almond extracts, cream cheese may be used instead of mascarpone cheese and savoiardi may be replaced by regular cookies or sponge cake.

Consistency and texture are critical in a well made Tiramisu. While many may not like the usage of eggs in Tiramisu, Chef Rossano is emphatic. “Traditionally eggs are used in making tiramisu however in India, as per the clientele, some chefs do egg- less tiramisu, however I don’t recommend it.” Bill Marchetti goes a step further when he says, “Instead of lightening the texture of the mascarpone with an egg sabayon you can use whipped cream and make an eggless sponge.”  Chef Rossano Renzelli, Executive Sous Chef, Westin Mumbai Garden City says, “For the perfect Tiramisu the two most important things are mascarpone cheese and coffee (Tia maria or kalhua) or almond liquor. Mascarpone cheese in Tiramisu can never be substituted with something else.” Celebrity Chef, Bill Marchetti of Spaghetti Kitchen feels, “Tiramisu means, pick me up, so it needs to be a rich liqueur and coffee laden concoction. The dish is all about mascarpone. You can also use a sponge cake instead of Savoiardi cookies. It’s main purpose is to soak up the coffee and liqueur.”

My first tryst with Tiramisu was when I was in London. Although had tried it earlier in India, I got hooked onto it there, when my colleague, Richard Mosquera, an IT wizard used to make the most delicious tiramisu. It used to simply melt in the mouth and have us carving for more. The ingredients were in the right proportion. Back in Mumbai, I’ve been scouting for the perfect tiramisu and a few places have offered me that. Olive Bar & Kitchen does a great tiramisu, as does Stax at Hyatt Regency. Ofcourse some places pass off a cheesecake with some element of coffee in it as Tiramisu. But my all time favourite are the ones at Spaghetti Kitchen and Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott. Chef Salvatore at Mezzo Mezzo made one with mango as well, which was unique. I even tried an Amarula Tiramisu myself with the caramel liqueur, it was good but I still prefer the classic one. Am old fashioned, what to do??

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