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International Coffee Day

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September 30, 2014 / Italian / By
Nicola

'Tiramisu' by Alex Fam via Flickr

To celebrate International Coffee Day, which fell on the Monday of this week, it seems a shame not to explore a different use for the popular drink. Coffee is big business worldwide, employing millions of people in pretty much every country. It's become so popular that many people run their lives around it - stopping at the same café on the way to work, organising coffee dates with friends, and buying coffee machines as Christmas presents. However, apart from making a creamy, caffeine-rich cappuccino, what else can we do with coffee?

Of course, the ideas are endless. One example would be to head to Italy, where coffee is one of the staple ingredients within a very popular dessert: tiramisu.

'Tiramisu' means 'pick me up' when translated directly from Italian to English. It's a great name, as that's exactly what the dessert does. Having tiramisu after a meal makes you feel revitalised and relaxed, all at the same time.

It's a very easy dessert to make at home, and it's certainly one which will impress your friends at your next dinner party. With just a little practice, it can rival even the best restaurants' versions.

To begin with, separate four eggs. Whisk the yolks with 75g of caster sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix this with 450g of mascarpone cheese until what you have is smooth and even. Then take three of the egg whites which have already been set aside, and whisk them until they're stiff, before folding them into the mascarpone-egg yolk-caster sugar mixture. You should have a very thick, glossy, smooth mixture at the end of this process.

Take about 175-200g of boudoir biscuits (sometimes referred to as sponge fingers). How much you use is up to you and your own personal tastes. Make up some strong coffee, and add in alcohol such as rum, marsala or whiskey if you'd like to. Obviously this is something to be skipped if you'll be serving the tiramisu to kids; alternatively, make up a separate alcohol-free version for them.

Briefly soak the biscuits in the coffee until they have absorbed the flavour, but take them out before they become so soggy that they disintegrate. Take a third of these soaked biscuits and layer them over the base of a serving dish or individual bowls. Cover this with a third of the creamy mixture, then grate some dark chocolate over the top. Repeat the layers in the same order until you have used up all your ingredients.

All that's left to do is leave the tiramisu in the fridge for a few hours before serving it. Ideally you should aim to leave it for around six hours, but I find that leaving it overnight allows the flavours to develop properly. This also leaves you with extra time during the day to focus on other tasks!

Ultimately, this is one of the world's favourite desserts. As you can see it's so easy to make, but it has a really high class feel about it. It's a fantastic way to use coffee other than just drinking it, so give it a try!


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Country: Italy

Province/State: Toscana

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$$$ = fine dining,etc

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