Delicious, simple and made with just a few ingredients. Do you know the recipe for this classic Italian dessert known and loved worldwide? Let's discover its secrets and curiosities together.

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The real origins of Tiramisù

A delicacy appreciated in every corner of the globe, Tiramisù is boundless.  Like pizza, it is a boast of Italian gastronomic traditions. Let's look at how and where it originated, its recipe and everything you should know, especially if you haven't tried it yet.

Although its origins are disputed between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions, the most accredited thesis attributes its paternity to Veneto, precisely to the city of Treviso. It all began in the mid-1950s. Then, the mother-in-law of a well-known restaurant owner decided to give her daughter-in-law, who had just given birth, a "boost". A sweet and hearty breakfast would undoubtedly help the young woman recover her energy after giving birth.

 It was zabaglione (beaten egg with sugar), locally known as "Sbatudin", excellent for regaining strength. Once she was up and running and back at her job at the inn, young Alba decided to take inspiration from that tasty breakfast to create a new dessert. After years of trial and error and thanks to the collaboration of the inn's pastry chef, Tiramisù finally saw the light between 1971 and 1972.

 However, between the 1950s and 1960s in Treviso, other restaurants were dabbling in preparing desserts similar to Tiramisù. The "Coppa Imperiale" (literally, imperial cup), created in honour of Queen Federica of Greece, visiting Treviso, used sponge cake instead of Savoiardi biscuits (also known as ladyfingers). Another well-known variant was the famous "Porcospino" (namely, hedgehog) because of the pine nuts that studded the top of the cake, recalling the animal's spines.

 According to other sources, it seems that in the 1800s, the madam of a pleasure house in Treviso invented the dessert to offer it to her clients to help them regain their strength. In any case, whatever its actual origin, this Italian speciality is one of the many national points of pride abroad, a tradition to be cherished with love and care. To pay homage to this gastronomic speciality, Tiramisù Day is celebrated every year on 3 October in Treviso and on 21 March throughout Italy.

The most popular dessert in Italy and in the world

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Tiramisù, the so-called spoon dessert, is the quintessential Italian pastry delight. It is loved from North to South both by children and adults. Famous across the border and appreciated by tourists visiting Italy, it is a classic that needs no translation or description to explain: it presents itself!

It is a dessert suitable for any party or occasion and the ideal closure to a typical daily meal. The term Tiramisù itself (literally "pick me up", "strengthen my body") comes from the Treviso dialect "Tireme su" which was Italianised in the last decades of the 20th century. Indeed, we couldn't have chosen a better name: who doesn't feel regenerated after a tasty slice of Tiramisù?

Classic Tiramisù recipe

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The recipe for the original Tiramisù is quite simple and quick. It does not require any special culinary skills, cooking or rising. Anyone can make an excellent Tiramisù. Are you ready?


 Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers)

 12 egg yolks

 1kg Mascarpone cheese cream

 cold coffee (amount needed to soak the biscuits)

 500 g sugar

 bitter cocoa powder

First of all, we need to prepare the coffee and let it cool in a bowl. Whip the 12 egg yolks and sugar into a frothy mixture and add the mascarpone cheese; we will obtain a soft cream. At this point, we can start to "create" our Tiramisù in an oven dish or a baking tin, depending on your availability and preferences.

Trying not to get them too wet, soak the ladyfingers in the coffee, and arrange them gradually on the surface of the chosen dish or tin. Cover this first layer of biscuits with the cream and make a new layer soaked in coffee. Then, put the remaining cream over the top surface of the ladyfingers.  As a final touch, sprinkle the cocoa powder with the help of a sieve to prevent lumps from forming. Keep in the fridge for a few hours before serving, although it will be hard to resist!

Tiramisù is my weakness. Home-made or from the pastry shop, it's a must.

Alberto Angela

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