A cake similar to the tiramisu’, originated in Tuscany and was called “La Zuppa del Duca”.
This dessert was created in honor of the Grand Duke Cosimo III of the Florentine Medici’s family and it consisted
of a sponge cake or biscuits soaked in an alcoholic beverage and spread with cream or marmalade and covered with
In the ’70, a chef from Treviso, Roberto Linguanotto working in a restaurant in his hometown, challenged himself
into reinventing “La Zuppa del Duca”, simplifying the recipe, using easy available ingredients and calling it with
a catchy name:tiramisu’.
In fact you need lady fingers or Savoiardi biscuits or a sponge cake cut in strips 1X1 inch, plus espresso coffee,
mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, and cocoa powder to make thetiramisu’, “pick
me up”, so called because of the caffeine contained in this cake acts as a stimulant to pep you up.
Since then many variations were produced, and every pastry chef or housewife makes their own version by adding
Marsala wine, coffee or other flavored liquor, cinnamon, egg whites, whipped cream or whatever ingredients they
It is easy to make because it requires no baking.
One ingredient that should not be substituted is the mascarpone.
The mascarpone is a Lombard’s specialty made from cow’s milk cream, processed by adding a water solution of
tartaric acid at a temperature of 180 degrees. When it thickens it is allowed to rest and cool overnight, then the
top and solid part, which is the mascarpone, is placed in a doubled cheese cloth to separate any watery
The word mascarpone could have originated from mascarpia, which is Lombard for ricotta. The similarity that exists
between the mascarpone and the ricotta are limited in the cooking and the addition of an acidulous solution used to
make these products. In fact the ingredient used in the process of making them is cream for one and whey for the
Mascarpone is a buttery rich, smooth cheese, ricotta is a fresh cheese, a little grainy, obtained by re-cooking a
watery solution recovered in the cheese making process.
Mascarpone can hardly be substituted, but where it is not available it can be replaced by mixing one tablespoon of
sweet butter, four tablespoons of heavy cream to eight ounces of cream cheese. This new creation will make it
possible to make a tasty cake which will be a very close cousin of the tiramisu’ and to neutralize the tangy taste
of the cream cheese add an extra tablespoon of sugar to the preparation.
6 egg’s yolks for zabaglione
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 lb. mascarpone
½ cup heavy whipping cream
30 lady fingers (can be substituted with 24 Savoiardi or sponge cake)
2 cups of strong, cold and unsweetened espresso coffee
½ cup Marsala wine
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup sugar (if available confectioners or powdered sugar)
½ teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
A large stainless steel bowl and a pot for a double-boil, a bowl to whip the cream, a baking dish 9 X 13
or a large dish 12 X 12, a shallow dish for the coffee, a pastry brush for the Marsala, a small strainer to
dust the cocoa on the cake.
Mix the egg yolks and the sugar in a large stainless steel bowl, beating it over a pot with simmering water using
an electric mixer or a hand whip
Continue to whip until mixture is pale yellow and temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Place in refrigerator
Fold the mascarpone into the zabaglione and set on the side.
Beat the heavy cream into stiff peaks and gently fold it into the mascarpone-zabaglione cream.
Pour a small amount of coffee in the shallow dish and one at a time soak briefly the lady fingers on one side,
before placing them into the baking dish, coffee wetted side down, to cover entire bottom of pan.
Using the pastry brush apply evenly one half of the Marsala on the surface of the lady fingers and spread with half
of the mascarpone cream.
Make another layer on the top, repeating the same method.
Refrigerate cake for at least two hours and when ready to serve, mix the unsweetened cocoa, sugar and cinnamon and
dust the tiramisu’ with it.