"It Girl" Tiramisu

I like to help out my friends by making stuff for them to take to dinner parties or pot-lucks - and a friend asked me to put together something for her to take to a their in-laws 4th of July BBQ. She is a friend of true 'style' and her in-laws are really the 'in crowd' to the DC 'power politics' crowd. She is going to one of DC's "it" 4th of July picnic's on a manicured backyard on the Potomac...so what would I bring if I was her?...how about Tiramisu.

So after my first cup of coffee (making sure my husband got some too), I made haste to the Tiramisu into little disposable tupperwares so that she could throw them in a cooler, like a can of pop--therefore allowing people to enjoy them individually at the picnic.

Drizzle the coffee over the lady fingers. Whip whites with a little sugar to soft meringue. Whip marscapone and fold in egg whites. Layer lady fingers, marscapone-meringue mixture (mousse), chocolate shavings, then layer same again, ending with mousse this time. Top with coco powder, then some chocolate shavings and chill.

Things to note:

  • coffee should be chilled when poured over lady fingers, otherwise the lady fingers will disintergrate. Doing this at the beginning of the recipe means that you have to quick with everything else or your lady fingers will be way to soggy. If you are slow, before you layer, just pour the chilled coffee in a bowl and quickly dip the lady fingers in one at a time, placing directly in trifle.
  • egg whites always need to be at room temperature before attempting to make meringue. Believe me, it just won't work right, and will take you twice as long.
  • I love to use a microplane or a zester for everything, cheese for risotto, lemon zest for salads, fresh nutmeg in mashed potatoes and yes, even chocolate curls in tiramisu. It is a great habit (I believe) I picked up in restaurant kitchens. It adds a little bit of whatever you need to add, therefore adding flavor carefully instead of just dumping a mass amount of whatever you are trying to add.
  • Things I would change: (1) I don't know if little kids are going to eat these and I don't know if their parents let their kids drink alcohol. So I omitted it all, marsala and grappa. If this was a dinner party, I would have probably added some marsala (1-2 oz./8-10 servings to taste) to the coffee and some grappa (1/2-2 oz. to taste) to the mousse.(2)Because I am a big cheese fan, I would add a little more mascarpone, perhaps 3-4 oz. It was very sweet and since it is a 'dessert' for a picnic, I thought that would be okay - I saved a couple and my husband already ate one. He said it wasn't too sweet at all and tasted great. He likes the sweet stuff...so I guess it's whatever floats your boat.

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