Easy & Delicious Tiramisu

One of my favourite desserts of all time is Tiramisu. It's rich, creamy, has a delicious coffee flavour, which c'mon,  makes everything delicious. It's usually topped with cocoa and  sometimes (like when I make it) contains a little bit of booze. Whats not to love?

The name itself translates into something like "make me happy" or "pick-me-up" and does it ever. 

There are many out there (snobs) who believe that the classic version of this dessert is the only one worth making and while I appreciate authenticity and the value of tradition, sometimes those recipes just aren't as practical. Plus,  the traditional one, while delicious, can be a little bit boring sometimes. 

That being said, I can't say I've been super experimental here - it's still pretty close to the original, but I love that I have the option for variety, I mean people have done some weird stuff with this dessert - just take a look over on Pinterest. Every time I make it I can try something a little different which is actually so much fun. 

This is super easy and quick to make, perfect for a dinner party and always a hit. I make them in individual cups - the day before, the morning of, or up to an hour before guests arrive. 

The traditional Tiramisu base calls for lady fingers, however It's often made with different types of cookies and cake. I have seen recipes with sponge cake, red velvet cake, Oreos and banana bread (um, yum!). 

For this I stuck with traditional lady fingers, I like the texture of them, a combination of crunchiness with airiness. I crumbled a little into individual glasses. 

Typically the lady fingers are soaked in espresso before being placed into a dish. The original doesn't call for alcohol, but people have added brandy, rums and different liquors to add a dimension of flavour to it. I REALLY like Baileys with it, so I used that, Kahlua would also enhance the coffee flavour in the dish. 

I chose to use a strong french press coffee instead of espresso, simply because it's what I had on hand.

I spooned the coffee over the cookies gently. Part of what I love about Tiramisu, is the variety of texture between the custard and the cookies, so I try to avoid soaking them too much, otherwise it becomes a soggy mess. 

The next step is the cream topping. Traditional recipes call for a custard like mixture made with mascarpone, egg yolks and sugar. However,  mascarpone is not cheap! So I have substituted  whipped cream, cream cheese and ricotta in the past - all produce slightly different textures.

I like the creaminess of the mascarpone, but find it a little heavy, so for this recipe I combined it half & half with whipped cream and a bit of sugar (to taste). This allowed me to buy a smaller container of mascarpone and gave the mixture an airier consistency.

At this point it's just a matter of assembling cookies with cream and repeating a number of times depending on the size of your glass- ending with a generous amount of the cream mixture. Once it's a assembled refrigerate it for at least one hour. 

You can top the tiramisu just before you serve it - with just about anything. Cocoa is traditional but you can also use chocolate shavings, cinnamon etc. I chose to top with more lady fingers that had not been soaked in coffee to add a little crunch.

This whole thing took me less than 15 minutes to make! Its really delicious, always looks really cute, and people love it. 

What variations would you guys make to this?