All About Tiramisu, History, Origin, and Preparation

The etymology of the word Tiramisu means “raise me up, strengthen my body”. It derives from the Treviso dialect “Tireme su”, Italianised into tiramisu in the last decades of the twentieth century.

Tiramisù is the king of Italian desserts. Known all over the world, it is attributed with aphrodisiac, intoxicating and historical properties. Rejected only by those who do not drink alcohol. It is the perfect mix between sweet, bitter, smooth texture on the palate and the final taste of chocolate…

The recipe would be derived from “sbatudin” a mixture of beaten egg yolk with sugar, commonly used by peasant families as a restorative or for newlyweds. To this was then added the mascarpone, coffee, and cocoa

Where Tiramisu Is Born

To make it famous in Italy and then in the world was the restaurant Le Beccherie in Treviso that since the 70s offered it on the menu. Among the first to talk about it is the food and wine giuseppe maffioli. Other restaurants in the city claimed paternity but for a long time Treviso remained the reference point of this dessert, so much so that in 2010 the Italian Academy of Cuisine filed a notarial deed containing the name, history and original recipe of Tiramisù attributing its origins to Veneto.

The History Of Tiramisu: What It Is And What Its Origin Is

The history of tiramisu is written with coffee, eggs, sugar, mascarpone and endless stories that place its origin in one or another part of Italy and its authorship in pastry chefs of the most varied nature; these are their stories.

Creamy, soft and intense, tiramisu has conquered dessert menus around the world and has become the perfect recipe for its easy preparation and flavor. However, his birth is full of stories, legends and disputes that reach to this day. We look for the origins of a dessert so helpful… Or at least we invite you to know the existing theories around his birth.

What Is Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a very popular Italian dessert internationally made from a solid and dry ingredient moistened in coffee (usually a kind of cake), a cream prepared from beaten eggs and sugar that spreads over the previous ingredients and cocoa sprinkled on top. Usually, the two main elements, the solid part and the cream, overlap alternately. The more or less basic tiramisu recipe is followed by a whole series of variants in which other ingredients are added or the essential ones are modified to enhance its flavor or integrate other nuances.

The solid part of the recipe is usually made up of soletilla, savoiardi or novara biscuits. It should be a dry and consistent type of cake. This part is usually soaked in coffee alone or in a mixture of coffee and an alcoholic beverage such as amaretto, rum or marsala wine. The cream, which as we said is initially prepared with beaten eggs and sugar in its simplest preparation, can include mascarpone cheese, although many use any non-intense fresh cheese or whipped cream. As a final touch it is usual to sprinkle cocoa powder on top or grated chocolate. In any case, there are many variants and ways to elaborate it. Why, despite having the ingredients more or less clear, do we not know for sure what the most genuine preparation is?

From the etymological point of view, the word “tiramisu” comes from the Venetian Italian dialect and is a colloquial abbreviation of the words “pull” to pull or grab, “my” for that of an action that occurs on us and “his” or up: pull us up or encourage us. It is believed that its origin is quite recent, the second half of the twentieth century.

The dessert was most likely named for the enormous amount of calories in the recipe, capable of quickly lifting the most depressed spirits, whether they were those of a new mother who had to breastfeed her newborn or those of a brothel customer: there are legends for all tastes.

Looking For The Origins Of Tiramisu

Embarking on the enterprise of enclosing the origins of a dish, especially if it is especially old and the evidence is not accurate, is an exercise in instinct, confidence and critical spirit, but in the case of tiramisu experts do not hesitate to point out that it is a modern and non-traditional formulation as its condition as a classic of Italian gastronomy could be assumed.

This presupposed contemporary conception, based on the absence of mentions of the recipe in large gastronomic compendiums until the second half of the twentieth century, is no reason for different stories and legends to want to place their origin in another historical moment and have been taken as true.

The tiramisu of Cosimo III de’ Medici

The one that goes further back in time places the invention of tiramisu is the one that explains it as an offering towards the end of the seventeenth century, in Siena, to the then Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici. The pastry chefs of the city would have decided to reflect in a sweet the virtues of the aristocrat and for this they used coffee, recently arrived in Europe, as a representative of their strength, cocoa as a symbol of their virility and mascarpone cheese as that of their humility, a trident that in the company of the rest of the ingredients would take the name of Sopa del Duque. The story is as interesting as it is believable, but paying a little attention, looking at the particularities that the products used had at that time, we realize that it cannot be considered truthful.

On the one hand because using raw eggs in the preparation of a cream at that time was too complex, unusual and above all dangerous, given the precarious existing conservation methods and the consequent risk of salmonellosis; and on the other hand, finding in the middle of Tuscany and in good condition a cheese as early perishable as mascarpone, not especially near the area in which it was produced then, Lombardy, was not usual. Both circumstances make the story difficult to see.

The Tiramisu Of Camillo Benso

The second most widespread legend about tiramisu, which places the emergence of dessert in the nineteenth century, is the one that attributes its creation to a pastry shop in the city of Turin and the motivation to another tribute, this time paid to the Count of Cavour, Camillo Paolo Filippo Giulio Benso, better known simply as Camillo Benso.

This Italian nobleman, politician and statesman was responsible for achieving the unification of the various states in which the Italian peninsula was divided, not without opposition, thanks to his position as minister of the kingdom of Piedmont and the skillful policy he led. It was during that process when, according to this story, the Turin pastry offered him the sweet as help to carry out the great company in which he had embarked.

Despite how patriotic and even exciting the story may be, the reasons for discarding it go through the previous reasons: preparing the tiramisu with the productive means available then was not safe for health and, surely with this in mind, it is unlikely that such a recipe ended up as a sincere gift to a figure like that of the Count of Cavour.

The Real Secret Of Tiramisu

But beyond the origins, what is the secret of this exquisite dessert? Without a doubt, the ingredients of tiramisu must be of high quality and obviously we coffee lovers believe that this element is as inevitable as mascarpone and ladyfingers.

The Original Tiramisu Recipe

The preparation of tiramisu is quite simple, in fact, the traditional recipe involves layers of ladyfingers soaked in coffee, covered with a delicious mascarpone cream and garnished with a sprinkling of bitter cocoa. Before proceeding with the composition of the cake, it is necessary to understand how to make mascarpone cream, in order to make a compound that has the right consistency. In addition, a further suggestion to have a particularly delicious dessert with a full-bodied coffee aroma is to use unsweetened coffee prepared with mocha. You can also use homemade ladyfingers, replacing industrial ones. If you opt for home made ladyfingers, you will need 70 grams of egg whites, 40 grams of egg yolks, 60 grams of flour, 60 grams of sugar and a pinch of salt. After making a firm and frothy meringue, it is necessary to incorporate the beaten yolks and then the sifted flour, with decisive movements from bottom to top. With these doses, you can prepare about 20-30 ladyfingers, ideal for the preparation of a tiramisu pan.

Five Variations Of Tiramisu To Try Right Away

Now that we have retraced the complex and compelling history of tiramisu, we offer you 5 variations of the most beloved dessert, all to try. This famous dessert, in fact, is declined in a series of variations on the infinite theme: we have selected some of the most delicious.

1. Tiramisu Cookies

The tiramisu cookies is an irresistible dessert to be prepared in a few minutes using cookies biscuits, milk, coffee, ice cream and hazelnut cream as ingredients: after having it cold in the freezer for a few hours, serve it in a cup to make it even more practical and original.

2. Lemon Tiramisu

Thanks to its fresh and delicious taste, lemon tiramisu will conquer you spoon after teaspoon. The ingredients are the usual ones (mascarpone, eggs, sugar, ladyfingers) but cream is added and coffee is replaced with water and lemon juice.

3. Ricotta tiramisu

A variant of ricotta soft and creamy like the original but, at the same time, fresher and lighter. Preparing the ricotta tiramisu is very simple: just combine the ingredients, creating various layers, and let the cake compact in the fridge for a few hours.

4. Tiramisu Strawberries And Coconut

A bold variant of tiramisu, perfect for those who love fresh fruit and, of course, coconut. The tiramisu with strawberries and coconut is a fresh alternative that is very easy to make: the ladyfingers are soaked in a syrup of strawberries blended with sugar and lemon juice, while the filling is made with eggs, sugar, mascarpone, cream, strawberries and white chocolate. The cover with the coconut grain will be dusted on the surface completes the whole.

5. Pistachio Tiramisu

Another delicious variant of the classic coffee tiramisu, but with dried fruit: pistachio tiramisu. In this recipe it is used both for the cream, together with the classic mascarpone, and for the topping, with the grain. An alternative that will conquer even the most orthodox palates.

Facts About Tiramisu

The creation of Tiramisu revolves around many facts. Surely you will be interested in knowing some of them.

Below we share with you some of the most attractive and interesting facts related to this Italian dessert:

  • Tiramisu is a dessert that is attributed aphrodisiac properties probably for two of its energy ingredients: coffee and chocolate.
  • Its English translation is “lift the spirits”.
  • The Accademia della Crusca, from Italy, endorsed that the word “tiramisu” constitutes a “gastronomic Italianism” in 23 different languages. It is the first best-known word among sweets and the fifth word of Italian cuisine best known abroad.
  • In Milan the new record for the longest tiramisu in the world was set in the Guinness Book of Records: 273.5 meters, made with 50 thousand biscuits, 500 kilograms of mascarpone, 300 liters of coffee, 65 kilograms of sugar, 60 kilograms of egg yolks, 70 kilograms of egg whites and 65 kilograms of bitter cocoa. (ANSA).
  • In the 90s the director of the film “Sleepless in Seattle” Fabio Da Luigi unveiled the famous dessert of Italian cuisine in the United States through the dialogue of one of the actors as a tip to rebuild his life. In that sense he expressed the Italian word “tiramisu”.
  • In 2013, the Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, for his stay in orbit with the Russian Soyuz TMA¬09M dell’Esa spacecraft requested a space menu. Turin chef Davide Scabin, from the Restaurant Combal.Zero, made a dehydrated tiramisu, so the famous dessert also traveled to the Moon.
  • Based on data obtained by the Google Trends search engine, tiramisu was the second most searched recipe by Italians in 2018 above other renowned Italian sweets such as chocolate cake and honey cake.
  • Espresso coffee is indispensable to achieve the characteristic flavor.
  • The original tiramisu recipe did not include mascarpone cheese.· You can use a little brandy to strengthen the flavor of the dessert.

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