This week finds me in the magnificent region of Tuscany. It's a tough life, I know. I am spending my days with a delightful group of people and while we are learning about the art, history and culture of Italy, we are also spending a lot of time immersed in the culture of wine and food. Food tells you so much about a culture so I love to incorporate it into every client's trip, be it cooking classes, wine tastings, market tours. On this adventure we have been lucky enough to be hosted at the home of a beautiful florentine family. Located in the hills outside of Florence, the beauty of the countryside surrounds us as we learn the secrets of Tuscan cooking from a true Italian mamma. We made the most wonderful meal under the watchful eye of Milvia and Signora Pina but the highlight the day must have been the tiramisu. While you won't have the full experience - the sweeping views of olive groves and vineyards, the aroma of ragu simmering on the stove, the Italian Signora watching your every move as you chop spinach - I am delighted to share the tiramisu recipe with you. It is quite sincerely the best tiramisu I have ever had.
Mamma Milvia's Tiramisu
5 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons sugar
1 pound of mascarpone cheese
3 shots of espresso
3 teaspoons of sugar
One jigger of rum of whiskey
One package of Pavesini (an Italian cookie that can be found in a good Italian specialty store. If you use soft ladyfingers, your tiramisu will be soggy. )
Make espresso (or do what I do and buy three shots of it at the local coffee shop) and add 3 teaspoons of sugar. Add liquor and set aside but do not let it cool completely.
With an electric mixer, whip the egg white with the pinch of salt until they form firm peaks. Set aside. In another bowl, beat egg yolks mascarpone and 5 tablespoons of sugar until well combined. Fold in the egg whites gently until completely incorporated. Take your time with this step.
In a 13 x 9 dish begin making the layers. The first layer is a tightly fit layer of Pavesini dunked very quickly in the espresso. There should be no space between the cookies. Add a layer of mascarpone mixture and shave chocolate over the top. Repeat layers two more times, finishing with chocolate shavings. In the second and third layers, the cookies should be close but not touching. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Then serve and let everyone sing your praises.
Tastefully yours from Tuscany,