Tiramisu is one of our favourite foreign desserts. With lots of biscuits, lightly moistened with coffee and an airy cream on top, it is the best accompaniment to our afternoon coffee! So, we thought, why not making a Greek tiramisu? We have already experimented with Greek flan and Greek cheesecake… Tiramisu, your time has come!
So, in our new sweet and uplifting article we will research the mysterious history of Italian tiramisù and make our own Greek tiramisu with a savoiardi biscuit base, Greek coffee and anthotyro cream.
Authentic Italian tiramisù is a dessert consisting of a cream with egg yolks, sugar, mascarpone cheese and a sip of Marsala wine, along with biscuits soaked in coffee. One will find it in various forms, in a pan, in individual cups, as a restaurant plate, as an ice cream flavor and much more.
For the history of tiramisu we visited a website dedicated to promoting historical, cultural and culinary information, Accademia del Tiramisù. We know that the name comes from the Italian phrase “tira mi su” which means “lift me up”. According to the website tiramisu first appeared in 1800 in the area of Treviso near Venice. It is said to have been served for invigoration in a house of pleasure. For prudence reasons the dessert gets lost until 1980 when it starts being mentioned in books and gains worldwide popularity.
But there are other versions of the origin of tiramisu. One of them concerns the area of Tuscany. According to this story, the dessert was created in Sienna, during the visit of Duke Cossimo III de’ Medici, who lived in the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century. Then the dessert was called zuppa del duca, meaning duke’s soup. There are other versions of other Italian areas claiming the invention of tiramisu, but those are probably claims with no basis.
In reality, the two main antagonists for the origin of tiramisu are Italian areas of Treviso and Udine. Tiramisu first appeared in Treviso at the end of the 60s in La Beccherie restaurant, while in Udine in the 50s in the restaurant of Roma hotel. As it seems, tiramisu history is another sweet mystery…
There is also a confectioner, Carminantonio Iannaccone, whom we found claiming that he is in fact the real inventor of tiramisu. Having his own pastry shop in Baltimore USA he makes the “authentic” in his opinion tiramisu, something that must frustrate the owners of La Beccherie.
Former owner of La Beccherie restaurant, Alba Campeol, narrates the day tiramisu was invented: her mother-in-law, seeing her very weak from the birth of her son, prepared a zabaglione cream for her, a simple custard with whipped egg yolks and sugar, and a bit of mascarpone. This time, the mother-in-law added some coffee too. She told her “Mangia, it will lift you up.” According to Alba Campeol, original tiramisu is made without alcohol.
According to historical facts, the oldest tiramisu recipe is traced in a book of 1983 by Giovanni Capnist entitled I Dolci del Veneto (ie the sweets of Veneto). Veneto is an Italian area, in which Treviso is located. A book of 1988 mentions that in La Beccherie restaurant tiramisu is served in the original way: ladyfingers soaked in strong espresso coffee, mascarpone-zabaglione cream (an Italian custard with egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine), and bitter cocoa powder. Moreover, actor and writer Giuseppe Maffioli, in an article of 1981 mentions that tiramisu was born a decade ago in Treviso area.
We have also read about the spread of tiramisu in Europe and the USA. Except for New York, the uplifting dessert impressed the city’s suburbs, such as New Jersey, invading their restaurants’ menus. In 1987 tiramisu was included in the meny of Le Relais Plaza, a five star hotel’s restaurant in Paris. By 1989 tiramisu had flooded San Francisco.
How does a dessert that was barely known three years ago suddenly become so popular?The New York Times, 1985
Αccording to American-Italian chef Lidia Bastianich, tiramisu wasn’t included in the Nouvelle Cuisine of the times in the USA, but its soft texture made it very much loved. Also, it didn’t call for special abilities to make one. In her childhood memories, Lidia Bastianich remembers her grandmother sending her to bring fresh eggs from the chickens and mixing yolks with sugar to make zabaglione custard by holding a bowl between her knees and whisking vigorously. Then she would pour the custard into cups, along with some espresso coffee and dried bread or cookies.
Having heard all the various opinions on the origin and recipe of Italian tiramisù, the time has come to experiment a bit and make a Greek version. Prepare a cup of Greek coffee and let’s get creative!
Greek tiramisu with Greek coffee and anthotyro cheese
Ingredients for the Greek tiramisu
|For the savoiardi biscuit|
|Vanilla powder||1 capsule|
|All-purpose flour||150 gr|
|For the cream|
|Anthotyro cheese||250 gr|
|Cottage cheese||200 gf|
|Heavy cream||200 gr|
|Greek coffee prepared||1 small cup|
|Powdered sugar||50 gr|
|Cocoa powder for garnish|
How to make the Greek tiramisu
To make the savoiardi biscuit base, divide the two eggs into yolks and whites and beat the yolks with 30 gr of sugar for two minutes. Then, beat all four egg whites and once they become foamy add the remaining sugar in a steady flow. Continue beating until it becomes a proper shiny meringue. Do you remember the trick to see if the meringue is ready? Lift it upside down and hope it doesn’t fall!
Then fold the yolks into the meringue with a spatula, with gentle movements so that it doesn’t lose its volume. Sift the flour over the mixture and incorporate it in the same, careful way.
Fill a pastry bag with the mixture and form your biscuits. This time we chose to make a disk for the base of our tiramisu and some ladyfingers for decoration (and for snacking). Bake at 200°C for 10-12 minutes for the ladyfingers and 18-20 minutes for the disk.
To make your cream, beat the heavy cream in the mixer until it acquires the liquidity of yogurt, for about three minutes. Mush the cream cheese and cottage cheese well with a fork. Place the gelatin sheets in cold water to soften them and then dissolve them in two spoons of boiling water and three teaspoons of Greek coffee. Incorporate the liquid with the dissolved gelatin into the cream and put it in the fridge for an hour to firm up, inside a pastry bag.
In the meantime, the savoiardi biscuits will be baked. Hot as they are, moisten them with Greek coffee using a brush, if you want a light coffee taste. If you want a more intense taste, make a double Greek coffee and dip your biscuits inside to soak. We prefer the light version.
Now it’s time to fill your form with anthotyro cream. Spread the whole amount of cream and if you want, decorate the surface with cream rosettes and ladyfingers. Finally, sprinkle with a generous amount of cocoa powder and place in the fridge for some more time.
We hope to have lifted you up a bit with our sweet stories. Happy sweet creations everyone!