Valentine’s Day is just a week away, and if you haven’t already ordered a fancy box of chocolates online or made dinner reservations yet don’t fret—you can make a dessert to wow your Valentine and show how much you care. Because what’s sweeter than dessert? The kind that’s homemade.
Serafina, a modern Italian restaurant with locations in New York City and beyond, has graciously shared their tiramisu recipe. Their version has layers of espresso-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone and a dusting of cocoa powder on top: “Just like grandma used to make, maybe better.” It’s a beginner-friendly recipe that requires no baking.
I asked Vittorio Assaf, co-founder of Serafina Restaurants, what makes a great tiramisu and he told me that it comes down to two things: the quality of the mascarpone and the quality of the espresso that is used. At Serafina, they use Italian mascarpone and Lavazza espresso. Their tiramisu is made daily by hand.
“Our tiramisu recipe is very special and comes from my grandmother in Italy,” Assaf said. “The sauce must be mixed by hand for at least 15 minutes and consists of Mauri and Galbani mascarpone cheese.” For the ladyfingers, he recommends Balocco if you can get your hands on it.
Common pitfalls when making tiramisu are using American coffee instead of espresso (a big no-no in Assaf’s book) and overdoing it with the cacao sprinkled over top (a light dusting is ideal). If you end up having leftovers, tiramisu can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for just one day. Fresh is best, which is the excuse I’ll be using to eat seconds.
Without further ado, I present to you Serafina’s tiramisu recipe. If you love it, be on the lookout for Serafina’s forthcoming cookbook, Serafina: Modern Italian Cuisine for Everyday Home Cooking, which comes out in spring 2022.
Recipe for Serafina’s Tiramisu
Yields 4 servings
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 c sugar
2 c (8 oz) mascarpone
1 1/4 c espresso, cooled to room temperature
5 oz ladyfingers
Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whip with an electric mixer until light in color and foamy. Add the mascarpone 1 tablespoon at a time, beating to combine between additions. Set aside.
Thoroughly clean the mixer attachments and beat the egg whites with the mixer until very stiff, about 4 minutes. When you turn the bowl upside down, the whipped egg whites should not fall out. Add 1 tablespoon of beaten egg whites to the mascarpone mixture and gently fold it in with a spatula, working from the bottom to the top. Continue folding in 1 tablespoon at a time until all the egg whites have been incorporated.
Divide this mixture into three equal portions. Spread one portion on the bottom of a 6 by 4-inch baking pan.
Place the espresso in a shallow bowl. Quickly dip both sides of a ladyfinger into the coffee, then place it in the baking pan on top of the layer of cream. Repeat with enough ladyfingers to cover the surface, breaking some of the ladyfingers to fill gaps if necessary. If you run low on espresso, brew a little more. Gently spread about half of the remaining mascarpone mixture evenly on top of the ladyfingers. Add another layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers and finally the last portion of the mascarpone mixture.
Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. To serve, cut into four equal portions and transfer to individual serving plates. Sprinkle each serving with a small amount of cocoa powder through a sieve. Garnish with berries and mint leaves.