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Lately, I”ve been blessed to be a guest in many homes of dear friends. I am reminded all the time how much I have to be grateful for, and the most important one of those is the love I am surrounded and supported by. Obviously, there aren’t many real gifts I can give to repay them for their love other than to return it; one of the tangible ways I can do that is to prepare some delicious food for them, and put my love into that, with the hopes that they can enjoy it. I totally support Penzey’s Spices motto: Love People. Cook them tasty food. 

So, here’s an easy recipe that I’ve used among family and friends, both old and new, which was taught to me by one of the most incredible women I know, who always does things with love and care. I may have posted this before, but I find that it’s relevant and worthy of a new posting! Plus, I’ve learned a few things in the many times I’ve made it that might be important to share, too.
Ingredients:
for 6–
 3 eggs 
300 g mascarpone cheese
 3 tbsp sugar (if regular white sugar isn’t available, powdered or confectioner’s sugar will do)
 cold, very strong black coffee
 coffee-flavored liqueur or brandy (Amaretto is my favorite, but most dark liqueurs are just fine)
 ladyfingers (these can be tricky to find sometimes…I haven’t discovered a replacement for it, but you can always try making your OWN lady fingers!)
 cocoa powder 
chocolate chips or block of chocolate to shave/chop (although this is optional, I find that it adds a lot to the flavor and makes the dish look prettier!)

Ok, now you’re ready. 
1. Separate egg whites from yolks; I usually put the yolks in a bigger bowl, because eventually everything will be mixed together in that one. When separating them, be sure none of the yolk gets into the whites! The egg whites won’t stiffen properly if they are mixed. 

2. Beat the egg whites until they’re stiff and in peaks; basically, you want to make it as airy as possible! If you don’t have an electric mixer, you’ll just have to put a bit more energy and effort (and time!) into it, but it can be done, I promise!

3. Mix the egg yolks with sugar, then add the mascarpone cheese adn whisk wiht the electric mixer or fork until evenly combined.

4. Fold in the egg whites and mix gently. Don’t overmix! Remember that to keep the dish from getting heavy, you want to keep the airiness of the egg whites in there. 

5. Put some coffee (about 1 cup) and liqueur (about 3 tbsp) in a shallow dish. (I just eyeball it and adjust for taste). You may add a little water. 

6. Dip a ladyfinger in the mixture, turning it quickly so that it does not get too wet or soggy. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT! A lot of mushy tiramisu is a result of heavy-handed dipping! Don’t be a heavy-handed dipper! Remember that the mascarpone/egg mixture is going to be layered over the lady fingers, so it’ll get plenty of moisture. The key is just making sure that the lady finger has a super light coating of the liqueur/coffee mix.

7. Prepare a layer of ladyfingers, dipped in coffee as above, in whatever pan  you’re going to make the tiramisu in; my preference is actually about a loaf pan size, if you have a small lasagna pan that’s perfect (maybe like 25x15x8 cm or something). But it all depends on how many people you’re serving for, etc. With this recipe for 6, I find that the loaf size makes things easier to slice and serve, as well as is narrow enough to be able to layer the mascarpone cream nicely, rather than trying to eke it out along the sides. 

8. Spoon in about half of the mascarpone cream, level the surface, then sift cocoa powder all over and sprinkle with chocolate chips or chocolate shavings.

9. Prepare a second layer of ladyfingers over the first one, pour in the remaining mascarpone cream, sift cocoa powder again and sprinkle with chocolate chips or shavings.

10. Cover with aluminum foil or similar (if you use plastic wrap, be sure it is tight and doesn’t fall on top of the tiramisu, otherwise it’ll destroy the beautiful cocoa/chocolate look of the top (-:) 

11. Chill overnight, or for at least 3 hours.

There you have it! I hope you enjoy! 

This was the tiramisu I made for my friends in Alsace. The pan was a fine size for the recipe, but I would not go any bigger! This one turned out well, especially by using a vegetable peeler for shaving the chocolate. 🙂

Oh! Almost forgot! If you’re wondering what to do with leftover ingredients, here are some ideas! 

I always make too much coffee, so at the end of my recipe I have at least a cup or so of coffee mixed with a bit of booze. For an adult pick-me-up, try a cup of milk (soy is actually great with this, and almond milk would probably be even better!) with some of the coffee/liqueur mixed in. Yummy! 

If you have leftover mascarpone and chocolate…well, I don’t think I have to suggest what to do with the chocolate, but try using mascarpone when a recipe calls for yogurt or cream cheese! Or, even better, use it as a base for a creamy pasta sauce with tomato and basil or spinach. 

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