Tiramisù!

I’ve come to love tiramisù now that I’ve fine tuned my recipe to exactly suit my taste. The key to great tiramisù is to use mascarpone, and to beat the eggs until they’re cloud-fluffy. Of course good espresso and high quality Marsala wine are a given!

You can chill tiramisù in a large serving dish but I prefer to chill it in individual dishes. Be creative: wine glasses, champagne glasses or just about any kind of dish will work great.

Tiramisù Dessert

Tiramisù, meaning pick me up, is a relatively new Italian dessert that dates bake to the early 1970’s. It was first made in Le Beccherie restaurant in Treviso. The restaurant still exists today and is still making tiramisù.

Tiramisù

Ingredients:

For the coffee dip:
1 1/2 Cups (360 ml) espresso coffee
1 Tsp sugar
3/8 Cup (90 ml) Marsala wine

For the filling:
5 eggs, beaten
100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
250 grams (8 ounces) Mascarpone
For the biscuit layers:
300 grams (10 1/2 ounces) Savoiardi biscuits (about 40 to 45)
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Procedure:

For the coffee dip:
Dissolve the sugar in the coffee and stir in the Marsala wine.

For the filling:
Beat the eggs until fluffy.
Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Whisk in the Mascarpone by the spoonful.

For the biscuit layers:
Dip about a third of the Savoiardi (or lady fingers) in the coffee dip. Line the bottom of a serving dish with the Savoiardi. The dish should measure about 12 x 8 inches (30 x 20 cm), and be about 2 inches deep (4 cm ).

Tiramisù Dessert
Gently spread the filling over the Savoiardi. Repeat this process, ending with a layer of filling on top.
Sprinkle the tiramisù lightly with the cocoa powder.
Chill several hours, and serve.

Tiramisù Dessert
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Tiramisù

Tiramisù, meaning pick me up, is a relatively new Italian dessert that dates bake to the early 1970's. It was first made in Le Beccherie restaurant in Treviso. The restaurant still exists today and is still making tiramisù.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

For the coffee dip:

  • 1 1/2 cups espresso coffee
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/8 cup (90 mMarsala wine

For the filling:

  • 5 eggs beaten
  • 3 1/2 ounces sugar 100 grams
  • 8 ounces Mascarpone 250 grams

For the biscuit layers:

  • 10 1/2 ounces Savoiardi biscuits 300 grams, about 40 to 45
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions

For the coffee dip:

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the coffee and stir in the Marsala wine.

For the filling:

  1. Beat the eggs until fluffy.
  2. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Whisk in the Mascarpone by the spoonful.

For the biscuit layers:

  1. Dip about a third of the Savoiardi (or lady fingers) into the coffee dip. 

  2. Line the bottom of a serving dish with the Savoiardi. The dish should measure about 12 x 8 inches (30 x 20 cm), and be about 2 inches deep (4 cm ).
  3. Gently spread the filling over the Savoiardi. Repeat this process, ending with a layer of filling on top.
  4. Sprinkle the tiramisù lightly with the cocoa powder.
  5. Chill several hours, and serve.
    Tiramisù Dessert

 

 

I've come to love tiramisù now that I've fine tuned my recipe to exactly suit my taste. The key to great tiramisù is to use mascarpone, and to beat the eggs until cloud-fluffy

Italian Cocktails, Mocktails & Liqueurs

Italian cocktails and mocktails are frequently low alcohol content and often with a hint of bitter flavor. This is changing with globalization. Italian cocktails and mocktails are now beginning to take on an international flare and resemble those you’d see in the United States and elsewhere.

I far prefer the classic Italian cocktails and mocktails that Italians have been drinking for years, and that still are the favorites in Italy. My favorite by far is the Spritz cocktail: refreshing and light so you can drink as many as you like. The key ingredient is Aperol, one of the many Italian beverages with a hint of bitter flavor. Incredibly easy to make:

Aperol Spritz Cocktail

Aperol Spritz

Three parts Prosecco, or any bubbly dry white wine
Two parts Aperol
A splash of sparkling water
A slice of orange

Sicilian oranges

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Aperol Spritz

Ingredients

  • Three parts Prosecco or any bubbly dry white wine
  • Two parts Aperol
  • A splash of sparkling water
  • A slice of orange

Instructions

  1. Pour the Prosecco, Aperol and sparkling water over ice.

  2. Add a slice of orange and serve.

Serving Prosecco

Campari is the key ingredient in a few popular Italian cocktails. It’s great served on the rocks, or with soda water. Here are a few delicious Campari cocktails you might want to try:

Campari Orange

One part Campari
Two parts orange juice
A slice of orange

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Campari Orange

Ingredients

  • One part Campari
  • Two parts orange juice
  • A slice of orange

Instructions

  1. Pour the Campari and orange juice over ice.

  2. Add a slice of orange and serve.

Negroni – version 1

One part Campari
One part Cinzano Rosso
One part gin
A slice of orange

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Negroni - version 1

Ingredients

  • One part Campari
  • One part Cinzano Rosso
  • One part gin
  • A slice of orange

Instructions

  1. Pour the Campari, Cinzano Rosso and gin over ice.

  2. Stir, add a slice of orange and serve

The world famous Martini & Rossi company has been making cocktail beverages and ingredients for a century and a half. They give the name to what is probably the best known and most loved cocktail worldwide, the martini.

Here’s how the company describes their startup on their website: “MARTINI® captures the spark that set two men on a lifelong quest to make their stamp on Italian culture. Alessandro Martini – a spirited entrepreneur with a global vision – and Luigi Rossi – a creative muse whose botanical fragrances would lure noses along Turin’s via Dora Grossa… The year was 1863 when their newfound partnership was manifested in their first vermouth: The MARTINI® Rosso. This original blend remains the same to this day.”

Martini e Rossi offers a slightly different version of the Negroni which is equally delicious.

Negroni – version 2

One part Martini Rosso
One part Martini Bitter
One part Bombay Sapphire
A twist of orange peel

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Negroni - version 2

Ingredients

  • One part Martini Rosso
  • One part Martini Bitter
  • One part Bombay Sapphire
  • A twist of orange peel

Instructions

  1. Pour the Martini Rosso, Martini Bitter and Bombay Sapphire over ice.

  2. Stir, add a generous twist of orange peel, and serve.

There are a few bottled mocktails, or nonalcoholic beverages, I like to have on hand for non-alcoholic drinkers: Crodino, Gingerino and San Bitter Rosso & Bianco. They come in little bottles and are fabulous splashed over ice with a slice of orange. Again, all of these beverages, like most cocktails and mocktails, have a slightly bitter flavor that is the signature taste in so many Italian beverages.

Let’s not forget Italian liqueurs! There are absolutely dozens upon dozens of these, often homemade by  restaurateurs. Most Italian restaurants will offer you a liqueur, or digestivo (a beverage to help you digest your meal), following dinner. Once again the most common commercially produced liqueurs have a bitter flavor. Often you will simply be offered an amaro, or a bitter-flavored liqueur (amaro is the Italian word for bitter).

Another common digestivo is grappa. Grappa is made from the distilled grape skins and stems that remain following the wine-making process. When you travel around Italy to visit wineries and purchase wine you’ll see that every winemaker also produces his/her own grappa. Grappa is pure alcohol and is a wonderful way to end a meal!

Restaurant owners, and many individuals (myself included), make their own liqueurs. Italians take great pride in their liqueurs and love to show off what they’ve made. The most common of these are limoncello and arancello. A variety of berries, leaves, fruits and nuts are used to make all the many kinds of liqueurs.

Generally there are two steps to liqueur making. First, the liqueur ingredient (fruit, nut etc.) is steeped in pure alcohol for at least a month. During this time the alcohol leaches out all of the ingredient’s flavor and color. The second step is to prepare a syrup from sugar and water. Finally the alcohol and syrup are mixed together and then bottled. During the leaching process and after bottling the liqueur is always kept out of direct sunlight. After bottling the liqueur is best stored in the freezer so that it’s ice-cold when you serve it.

Right now I have three liqueurs in the making: bay leaf, orange and  Sardinian myrtle berry. All three are now ready to be added to syrup.

Bay leaf and orange liqueur in the making!

The culinary alcohol used for liqueur-making is 95º proof…a fiery bomb! Where do you buy it? In Italy you’ll find it right on the grocery store shelf because everyone makes their own liqueurs!

95º Culinary alcohol used to make liqueurs

You serve liqueurs in tiny glasses. I had some lovely hand-painted ceramic liqueur glasses made, but if you look around you can find all sorts of charming liqueur glasses.

 

 

Aperol Spritz Cocktail

 

Lemon Poundcake Drizzled with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Poundcake Drizzled with Lemon Glaze

Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze

Our lemon tree is bursting with lemons and this is no exaggeration. I haven’t counted them but there are hundreds of beautiful lemons. We leave them on the tree all winter long and pick them as we need them each day: for salad dressings and the like. Let’s face it though. With that many lemons I’m perennially challenged with how to use them all. You can only make so much limoncello or preserved lemons or lemon pasta.

Lemons for Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze

I do try to avoid cakes because when they’re around I eat them; not just an occasional slice, but the whole thing…slice by slice. Not a good thing, enjoyable as it is.

That being said, I did peruse a whole host of lemon cake recipes to get some ideas and then it dawned on me: a lemon poundcake! I reworked my poundcake recipe and added lots of lemon juice and zest. I decided to use more lemons by making a lemon glaze to drizzle on the cake. In the end I only used up three of our lemons.

Although I only used three lemons, here’s the good news. When I sliced the cake and took my first bite I was overcome by just how delicious it was! It wasn’t just the first bite; I felt the same way, slice after slice. I made the cake again a few days ago just to be sure it was as delicious as it was on first impact: it was. This lemon poundcake has a tart lemon flavor with a creamy, buttery texture that you just can’t stop eating!

Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze

Glazed Lemon Poundcake

Serves 4-6
A traditional pound cake calls for a pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. This cake comes awfully close to those proportions, but also uses a bit of Greek yogurt in the batter.
Note that for the cake and the glaze you will need three fresh, untreated lemons.

Ingredients

For the cake:
Flour, 190 grams (1 1/2 cups)
Baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon
Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Butter, very soft, 175 grams (3/4 cup)
Sugar, 200 grams (1 cup)
Eggs, 3 large
Lemon zest from 2 lemons

Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed, 3 tablespoons
Greek yogurt, 60 grams (1/4 cup)

For the lemon glaze:
Powdered sugar, sifted, 120 grams (1 cup)
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed, 1 1/2 tablespoons
Milk, 1 tablespoon

Special equipment you may need:
Microplane zester
Parchment paper

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C)
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on high until very light and fluffy, about two minutes.
Set the mixer on medium/low and mix in the eggs, one per time, until fully incorporated.
Set the mixer on medium and blend in the lemon zest and juice, yogurt and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture, one third at a time, and beat on medium/high until fully combined.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the batter into the parchment paper lined loaf pan.

Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze
Bake the cake for 45 minutes to an hour until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Let the cake cool for close to an hour then remove it from the loaf pan.
While the cake is cooling prepare the lemon glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk together until smooth and creamy.
While the cake is still slightly warm drizzle the lemon glaze on top of it.
The cake can be frozen; if you do, wait to ice the cake until it has defrosted.

Full disclosure: I make a small commission for purchases made through links on my blog. Prices are identical to those on the Amazon website, but purchasing through my link helps support my work in bringing you great recipes and culinary information!

 

Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze
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Glazed Lemon Poundcake

A traditional pound cake calls for a pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. This cake comes awfully close to those proportions, but also uses a bit of Greek yogurt in the batter.

Note that for the cake and the glaze you will need three fresh, untreated lemons.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

For the poundcake:

  • 1 1/2 cup Flour 190 grams
  • teaspoon Baking powder 1/2
  • teaspoon Salt 1/2
  • 3/4 cup Butter very soft, 175 grams
  • 1 cup Sugar 200 grams
  • 3 large Eggs 3 large
  • Lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt 60 grams

For the lemon glaze:

  • 1 cup Powdered sugar sifted, 120 grams
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon Milk

Special equipment you may need:

  • Microplane zester
  • Parchment paper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C)
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on high until very light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  5. Set the mixer on medium/low and mix in the eggs, one per time, until fully incorporated.
  6. Set the mixer on medium and blend in the lemon zest and juice, yogurt and vanilla.
  7. Add the flour mixture, one third at a time, and beat on medium/high until fully combined.
  8. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  9. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the batter into the parchment paper lined loaf pan.
    Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze
  10. Bake the cake for 45 minutes to an hour until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  11. Let the cake cool for close to an hour then remove it from the loaf pan.
  12. While the cake is cooling prepare the lemon glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk together until smooth and creamy.
  13. While the cake is still slightly warm drizzle the lemon glaze on top of it.
  14. The cake can be frozen; if you do, wait to ice the cake once it has defrosted.

 

 

Lemon Poundcake drizzled with a Lemon Glaze

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