Inspiration: We don’t make desserts around our place often (I would eat them all.day.long.), but when we do, I like to make sure that they’re rich and indulgent and worth it. I would guess Brandon’s favorite desserts to be brownies, tiramisu, and baklava, and one of his very favorite flavorings is almond. He’s been lobbying for this tiramisu ever since I made it a year or two back, so I figured that his birthday this year would be the perfect time to make it again. Happy 27th B :)
What we Loved: Everything? Ever since I first made this recipe, I’ve been disappointed in any other piece of tiramisu that I’ve had. Regular tiramisu just isn’t as good anymore as a piece of tiramisu with a fabulous added almond flavor. I mix almond extract in with the mascarpone and Amaretto in with the coffee (hazelnut coffee, at that!), and the result is an over-the-top nutty almond flavor that we both just love. It’s creamy and cakey, with rich and indulgent almond-chocolate-coffee flavors. What’s not to love?
Helpful Hints: I have four pieces of advice for this recipe. The first is to follow it exactly. The first time that I made this, I decided to use about half as many ladyfingers, because I wanted the tiramisu to be extra creamy. I also used a deep, oddly shaped casserole dish, and I didn’t beat the cream long enough. The result was a delicious dessert, but it never even came close to setting. So it was a delicious, creamy, somewhat soupy dessert :) Followed exactly, though, the consistency is perfect.
My second piece of advice is not to skimp on the almond flavorings, even if the amounts seem outrageous. I use an entire bottle of extract in the cream mixture, but I really think that every drop is needed. One of my pet peeves is recipes that claim to be almond or blueberry or whatever flavor that they claim to be, then only have a trace aftertaste of that ingredient. This recipe is almond through and through. You can even taste the delicious amaretto in the ladyfingers.
Thirdly, make sure to use a mesh sieve for sprinkling the cocoa. I’ve tried by hand, and it really doesn’t work.
And lastly, I would recommend chilling this overnight. Some tiramisu recipes call for as little as 5-6 hours in the fridge, but I’ve really found that overnight is best.
Amaretto Almond Tiramisu
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Cook’s Illustrated
Here’s the recipe as I made it.
2 1/1 cups brewed coffee, room temperature (I used hazelnut)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso granules
5 tablespoons Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds mascarpone
1 fluid oz almond extract (I used one McCormick bottle)
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
14 ounces (42-60, depending on size) dried ladyfingers
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1. Stir the coffee, espresso, and 5 tablespoons of Amaretto in a wide bowl until the espresso dissolves.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the yolks at low speed until just combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice. Add the mascarpone, and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add the bottle of almond extract, and beat for 30 more seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
3. In the now-empty mixer bowl (no need to clean the bowl), beat the cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to high, and continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes longer. Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
4. Working one at a time, drop a ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, roll, remove, and transfer to a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Do not submerge the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture. The entire process should take just a few seconds for each cookie.
5. Arrange the soaked cookies in a single layer in the baking dish, breaking or trimming the ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into the dish.
5. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Use a spatula to spread the mixture to the sides and into the corners of the dish and to smooth the surface.
6. Place 2 tablespoons of cocoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and dust the cocoa over the mascarpone.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 with the remaining ingredients.
8. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve chilled.