Tiramisu Thank Yous


I’m spending my last week at my current company, and I’m definitely going to miss the amazing ladies I have worked with. These ladies are smart, hardworking, and unbelievably caring team leaders.

One of the leads approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I can teach her how to make tiramisu. What a perfect way to get the girls together as a small gesture of gratitude!

I made the tiramisu making party into a 3 course Italian cuisine party. There were many firsts that afternoon. The girls had their very first taste of roasted garlic spread on top of a crusty baguette. I served cold pasta with roasted bell pepper, corn, onions, bacon, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Being used to some spice, they politely asked me if I had some chili sauce to add to their pasta. Thus, it led to their first taste of the famous rooster logo sriracha sauce from Rosemead, California. I smuggled a bottle from my last trip back home because I couldn’t find the perfect taste equivalent with the many variations sold here.

We chatted and ate in between as we completed each step in making Tiramisu. Each step was a mini English lesson in the kitchen session as the girls learned what a double boiler was, what pure vanilla extract smelled like, and how whisking heavy cream creates soft peaks of whipped cream.

Since my kitchen is small, it was hard to do a hands-on demo. I did a half batch for the example and had already prepared individual servings of tiramisu. Tiramisu also tastes better chilled for a few hours as the flavors meld together and the coffee is completely absorbed into the ladyfingers.

I believe Italian day was a great success because the girls proposed Japanese day for next time!

Below is my rendition of Tiramisu with a touch of Tennessee and Vietnam!


(8 Individual Servings)

5 egg yolks
¼ cup of sugar
1 tbs. of vanilla extract
2 tbs. of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey*
7 oz. of Mascarpone
¾ cup of whipping cream
1.5 cups of Vietnamese coffee
2 tbs. of condensed milk*
40 ladyfingers (I used a smaller size, so it may be less if using regular sized ladyfingers)
Unsweetened cocoa to dust between layers and top

Create your own double boiler by preparing a pot filled with 2 inches of water and place it over medium heat for the water to just simmer. Use a heat safe bowl that will fit on top of the pot without the bottom of the bowl touching the water. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and Jack Daniels. Place the bowl on top of the pot and continuously stir the mixture so the eggs do not curdle from the heat. Stir the zabaglione until it doubles in volume and the color turns to a pale yellow. Let the mixture cool and place in the refrigerator to chill for thirty minutes to an hour. At this time take the Mascarpone out from the refrigerator to take the chill off (it will be easier to fold in). In a shallow bowl, mix the coffee and condensed milk together. In another bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the mascarpone and zabaglione with the whipped cream until thoroughly incorporated. Now the tiramisu is ready to assemble! I started with a layer of ladyfingers. Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee and place the coffee-saturated cookie into your vessel of choice in one layer. Add a dollop of the mascarpone cream to create a nice layer over the ladyfingers. Dust some cocoa powder on top. Add another layer of coffee soaked lady fingers and a dollop of the mascarpone cream. Cover with saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours until ready to serve. Dust a layer of cocoa on top before serving.

*Traditional tiramisu recipes use Marsala wine, which is a challenge to find here. I just wanted a hint of alcohol so I added Jack Daniels, which was already in my pantry.

* I used Vietnamese drip coffee. Vietnamese coffee alone is VERY strong so I added the condensed milk to mellow out the bitter taste.

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