I have been home from Italy for over a week and a half now and I already miss it. I loved everything about the beautiful country: the culture, the language, the people and especially the food. Oh the food…it was a foodie’s paradise. Italy has THE BEST pizza, pasta and gelato, lets just say my mouth was happy. While in Italy, Jacob and I decided we wanted to take a cooking class in Florence. We signed up for a class through Florencetown (they offer a variety of classes and tours) and I highly recommend the company! At the beginning of the class, we were taken on a tour of the food market and shown all of the different meats, produce and everything else that could be purchased there. It was amazing! We also learned how to make pasta and ravioli with bolognese sauce as well as tiramisu. It was my first time making any of these foods, so it was fun to learn how to make something new, especially from authentic Italian chefs (who were so nice and friendly!). The class was a fantastic experience for my first time in Florence.
As promised, I am going to share one of the recipes of food I had (or in this case, made) in Italy, starting with Tiramisu. (Be on the lookout for more Italian recipes in the coming weeks!)
Tiramisu, which means “pick me up” or “lift me up”, is a popular coffee-flavored dessert served in Italy (I am pretty sure it was on the menu at all of the restaurants we tried during our visit!) and traditionally contains a sweet egg and mascarpone base, lady fingers and coffee. Since I am not a coffee-drinker, I have adapted the recipe to use chocolate instead of coffee (after all, who isn’t a chocolate fan?!).
Be warned, this recipe can get extremely rich if you use too much cocoa powder. I used quite a bit for the photos (I wanted to exaggerate the chocolate layers), but I would not recommend using this much. As an alternative, you could mix the cocoa powder in with half the egg base and alternate between the two, which would also make pretty layers, but wouldn’t make it too rich.
I guarantee that you will love this dessert as much as I do! It is the perfect pick me up after a long day, and it will have you dreaming of beautiful, sunny Italy.
P.S. This photoshoot was the first time I have used my new lens for the blog! I bought a Canon 50 mm f/1.8 and it was the best purchase I could have made for my food photography. The lens was less than $100 from Amazon, but it works like a dream. I guess there’s a reason so many people refer to it as the “plastic fantastic”. It far exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend it if you are in the market for an affordable, all-purpose camera lens.
- 4 eggs, separated, room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 16 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- dash of salt
- 6-7 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup prepared hot chocolate, room temperature
- 24-30 biscotti cookies or lady fingers
Place egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or a handheld mixer). Mix egg mixture for 2-3 minutes on medium-high, until it is of a thick consistency and looks pale. In a separate bowl, mix egg whites on high until soft peaks form.
Fold in mascarpone cheese, vanilla and salt to egg yolk mixture until lumps are no longer visible. Follow by folding in the egg whites, being careful to not over mix.
Cover the bottom of 6 serving dishes with a scoop of the egg mixture. Follow by dipping a cookie into the hot chocolate and place on top of the egg mixture. Sprinkle a small amount of cocoa powder on top. Repeat the layers until you reach the desired amount in each serving dish. Top with cocoa powder and a cookie (or two).
Place the tiramisus in the fridge for two hours before serving, to allow the cookies to soak in the flavor. You can allow the tiramisu to sit in the fridge for up to 2 days.