There is a lovely little restaurant in Poulsbo, Washington, called Sogno Di Vino, which means, Dream of Wine, that Don and I visit frequently. It is an Italian restaurant and over the past few years we have enjoyed many wonderful dinners there. We always make reservations for a table in the area with the fireplace. It is our favorite seating and is secluded, quiet and intimate. We have never, ever had anything less than excellent food and service.
Monday was my birthday and Don took me to dinner at this nice restaurant and we had another memorable dinner. We ordered the tiramisu for dessert and as the wait-staff was aware that it was my birthday they brought our dessert with a candle in the center. Now, I am not usually a fan of tiramisu but I have to tell you that this was the most delicious ones that I have ever tasted. It was fluffy, and creamy with a coffee flavored cake and a touch of amaretto. It was presented with a raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries on top and it looked so elegant. I was impressed!
Don’s birthday is just one month after mine and he wanted me to make a tiramisu like this one. I know Dahn will be baking a birthday cake creation for him but I don’t think the cake police will arrest me if I make this as well. So, he asked the waitress if they would consider sharing the recipe and we were pleasantly surprised that they agreed.
The recipe that the restaurant gave me called for a 12x20x4″ Hotel Pan, which would be a lot of tiramisu and about twice the amount that I wanted to make. I searched for a pan that would be 12×10 and 4″ deep but could not find one. The problem was the 4″ deep requirement. I could make it in a 3″ deep pan that I already had on hand but I really wanted the 4″ deep finished cake. Finally, it occurred to me that I didn’t need a “pan” at all as it was not going into the oven, so I found an inexpensive, food-grade plastic box with a lid and it was just right. Also, I wanted to remove the entire finished product from the container and present it on a cake plate. I used folded strips of aluminum foil going lengthwise and widthwise on the bottom of the container and hanging over the sides, then cut a piece of foam board to fit the bottom of the container and placed it on top of the foil strips. The tiramisu was prepared and after it sat overnight in the refrigerator I used the foil strips to lift it out of the container and set it on the cake plate. It really wasn’t as complicated as this sounds and accomplished what I wanted.
I would have loved to have made beautiful chocolate curls to garnish the top of the cake, but alas….they just crumbled. I grated a chunk of Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate on the top instead of the curls.
Traditionally, tiramisu is made with raw eggs which I know is an issue for many people but this recipe skips the eggs making it a choice for anyone. I did not feel ambitious enough to bake my own lady fingers so I opted for the store-bought variety. Also, I have omitted the alcohol which makes it more kid-friendly as well.
- 1 cup extra strong coffee
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- lady fingers to cover pan 2x
- 2.5 pounds mascarpone cheese
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2-1/2 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- grated semi-sweet chocolate for garnish or ⅛ cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup strong coffee
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Mix coffee and espresso powder together. Dip lady fingers, one at a time into the mix and place them into the bottom of the pan forming a layer. Be very quick and do not let the lady fingers become soggy.
- With a whisk attachment on a stand mixer, mix the mascarpone, sugar, almond extract and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth and well incorporated. Add the cream and whip until thick. Cover the layer of lady fingers with ½ inch of the mascarpone mix.
- Dip more lady finger in the coffee mixture and layer them on top of the mascarpone layer. Cover the lady fingers with another ½ inch layer of mascarpone mixture. Grate chocolate, or sift cocoa powder on top and cover with plastic wrap.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours. Cut into 2”x2” squares and serve with coffee-chocolate sauce. This is a large cake and will serve up to 30.
- In a saucepan add the coffee and espresso powder, stirring to dissolve. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add almond extract and semi-sweet chocolate chips and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes to soften. Stir until smooth and allow to cool. Pour sauce into a squeezable plastic bottle with a small tip, garnish each serving plate with the sauce and place a piece of the tiramisu on top of the sauce.