So why have I resisted doing tiramisu for so long? Its popularity of course. I remember a time, not so long ago, when you couldn’t swing a dirty apron without hitting a serving of tiramisu. However it isn’t the popularity itself that’s put me off — otherwise I would never have done chocolate chip cookies — it’s what popularity has done to tiramisu that’s been so sad. In the 40 or so years since tiramisu was invented, the basic recipe has taken quite a beating. Look around a little and you can find “berry”-misu, root beer-misu, tiramisu cheesecake, ice cream, cream puffs, dessert pizza, fondue and frappé. So many crazy iterations, in other words, that the word “tiramisu” has come to have very little meaning. You know when the auto-correct on your blogging software sounds a siren at “crème anglaise” but stays utterly silent at the mention of “tiramisu” that it’s thoroughly saturated the culture.
All that said, I’m sure my trajectory this week is pretty clear. I’ll go back to the original. The question then becomes: if I go back to basics with tiramisu, what will I do to make it special? Sure there are the homemade ladyfingers, but those are so July. Make my own mascarpone cheese. Ah yes, that would be rather nice. And handy too, since I know that there are more than a few readers out there who don’t have access to an Italian grocery store. So let’s start there, shall we? We’ll get to the recipe and history part later.
Thanks to pastry Chef Laura for the inspiration.