photo by Anthony Palatta
When I tell my Italian friends that I make tiramisu without coffee, they look at me as if I've suggested making brownies without chocolate, or replacing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with scratch and sniff stickers.
"Then it's not tiramisu," they say.
Despite their outrage at my defilement of a classic dessert, it turns out tiramisu is not a traditional staple of Italian cuisine. In fact, it only dates back a few decades, probably to the 1970s.
So why not play with it?
True, losing the coffee makes a mockery of the reference to caffeine in the dessert's name, which in Italian means literally "pick me up."
But that's a small sacrifice to me for a couple of reasons. First, because I don't really like coffee. Second, because when I ditch the coffee, I get to replace it with flavors like lemon or chocolate, as in this easy-to-make, unbelievably creamy and rich double-chocolate tiramisu recipe from Everyday Food.
One of the things I like about this recipe is that it replaces the more expensive marscapone cheese with ordinary cream cheese (full-fat, of course). Besides the economic benefit, I actually prefer cream cheese for this recipe because its mild yet rich flavor compliments this recipe's rich chocolate base. The deep tang of marscapone would prove too distracting.
Also, the use of whipped heavy cream obviates the need for bothering with the laborious process of whisking egg yolks and whites as you would in most tiramisu recipes.
No, this is not a "traditional" tiramisu recipe. It's easier, and better.