Life is filled with diverting roads...

and I usually take the one less traveled.


Augusta, Georgia, USA
January 21
A chef by trade, but a human by birth. __________I am also a political junkie. I watch all the “talking head” cable programs religiously. Agreeing & disagreeing with the comments by the various pundits. Not shy about emailing my comments to them, either. I am a huge fan of Joan Walsh. She is one of the few that will stand her ground and discuss the issues, not just the 30 second sound bites. I am formerly from Ridgefield, CT


JULY 21, 2009 9:42AM

Tiramisu: A "Pick-Me-Up"

Rate: 11 Flag


Tiramisu is an Italian dessert typically made from sponge finger biscuits, espresso, cheese, eggs, cream, sugar, Marsala wine, cocoa, and rum. Its name literally means "pick-me-up" and is a reference to its two caffeine-containing ingredients, espresso and cocoa. Although tiramisu is one of the most popular desserts served in restaurants, there is some debate about its origin, as there is no documented mention of it before 1983. What are some theories regarding how it was first created? 



The biscuits are sprinkled with or briefly soaked in a mixture of coffee, rum, and sugar. They are layered with a mixture of mascarpone cheese and zabaglione, custard made from egg yolks, Marsala, and sugar. Cocoa powder is then sprinkled on top.

Tiramisu has become one of the most popular desserts served in restaurants of all types, not just Italian restaurants. The recipe has been adapted into cakes, puddings, and other varieties of dessert. Other flavors are often used now in place of coffee, including strawberry, lemon, or chocolate.


There is some debate regarding tiramisu's origin, as there is no documented mention of the dessert before 1983.  In 1998, Fernando and Tina Raris similarly claimed that the dessert is a recent invention. They point out that while the recipes and histories of other layered desserts are very similar; the first documented mention of tiramisu in a published work appears in a Greek cookbook. Backing up this story, the authors recalled an article that tiramisu was created in 1971 in Treviso.

Some claim that it was first created in
Northern Italy during the First World War. Women made these desserts for their men to take with them as they were being sent off to war. They might have believed the high caffeine and energy content of these desserts would give their men more energy to fight and help bring them home safely.

A less glamorous theory explains that the dessert was a way of salvaging old cake and coffee that had gone cold by using the leftover coffee and perhaps some liqueur to moisten the dry cake. The dish was greatly improved by layering it with cream or cream cheese.


Here is my favorite recipe:

Individual Tiramisu


½ pound mascarpone cheese

1½ tablespoons sugar

2 eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup very strong cold black coffee

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur

1 cup coarsely crumbled butter cookies or pound cake

2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted 

In a large bowl, beat together the cheese, sugar and egg yolks until blended and creamy. In another bowl, beat together the egg whites, salt and lemon juice until stiff pecks are formed. Fold egg whites into the cheese mixture. In a small bowl, combine the coffee and liqueur.

Using 4 stemmed wine glasses, divide half the cookie/pound cake into the bottom of each glass. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the liqueur mixture over cake; then top with half the cheese mixture. Layer remaining cake, liqueur mixture and cheese mixture in the same way.

Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving. 

Sprinkle each glass with sifted cocoa powder and serve.

Serves 4   

My all time favorite! I usually make an extra to enjoy another day after the guests have gone.

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Oh MAN!! My favorite!! And I haven't had breakfast yet. Rrrrrated!
Sorry, George as I won't be making this. Can't even eat it. Reminds me too much of an old boss who was the Director of HR and didn't have a clue as to what was really going on and had no business being the Director. Actually, she was later fired. Nice pic though....
jlynne… it does taste good as a breakfast treat. Thanks for stopping by for a little ‘peek’!

Pam – Let the memories of that ‘twit’ go and enjoy - you don’t know what you are missing.
I'm in favor of any recipe that uses leftovers and I have no doubt that this was was born with that in mind. But more than that, I love tiramisu. Have you ever seen Mary Ann Esposito's show "Ciao Italia?" She makes a version of this that is out of this world!
Totally one of my most favorite of desserts! And this doesn't sound real complicated. Thanks for another great recipe!
COS – thanks for reminding me of "Ciao Italia" – I love to watch this show, it takes me on a virtual trip to Italy & all it’s beauty.

Gary – from one chef to another; many thanks for your compliments – food is the universal gift of friendship
Good lord, GM! Just reading this, I've gained back the 7 pounds it took me the last two weeks to shed. YUMMMMMY! Next family dinner? Corned Beef and Cabbage, followed by Tiramisu. Leave it to the Italians to lift the black Irish mood from the table. ;0)
--so rated--
Mothership.... you got the spirit and you make me laugh! Thanks
Great dessert, and thanks for the recipe with some new twists: the butter cookies! so much more decadent than ladyfingers!
zuma… thanks, sometimes we have to add a little decadence to our lives. They are those simple pleasures we deserve.

L&P… this was one of those cooking experiments that worked… doesn’t always happen, but this one did and it is light & delicious. Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for the recipie, I'll have to try it.
Slight correction by my Italian-fluent wife. The most direct translation of tiramasu, although it would mean "pick me up" would actually be "to throw me up."
Still appetizing though.
Sounds delicious! . Who cares when it was invented.... as long as it WAS invented. =o) I had to laugh. On my only trip to Italy, I didn't find any tiramisu there, until my flight home on Aer Lingus.. when I got a serving of tiramisu the size of a postage stamp on my little plastic tray.

I'd go for the recycling cake and cold coffee theory, myself. Finding tasty ways to use leftover food has led to a lot of good edible inventions in the history of eating.Except... sob! There's no Mascarpone cheese in the fridge so I can't make this!

Tim… thanks for the comment. I have to laugh at the ‘literal’ translations… they don’t always work; especially here. But would explain some of those servings of tiramisu I didn’t like.

Shiral… well, we are living in a recycled world. Hope you remember the Mascarpone next time at the market. Thanks for your tale about Italy.
George, Tiramisu is mine and my wife's Achilles Heel. I don't do sweets often at all, but when we go to an Italian Restaurant with really good Tiramisu, I always order one for us to split.

This just looks and sounds outstanding!
Had to make my way over to your post because of your very-funny comment to Mary Kelly about possible lifelong ice cream suspicion. This was a particularly well-done recipe. My family does not drink coffee, but I do and had a nice mental diversion just reading about the luscious ingredients. Rated, and looking forward to reading more from you!
Blue – I wish I had your well power when it comes to sweets. All sweets have been my Achilles Heel and being a chef does not help, at all. As you can imagine - desserts are so fun to make!

annette2009 – Thanks for stopping by; you will most Tuesdays find some type of recipe and usually a bit of my ‘off whacked’ humor. I’ll take a look at your post, as well.
I've wanted to try this, and now I will. Thank you.