What is tiramisu?
Tiramisu, (meaning "pick me up" or "cheer me up") is a coffee-flavoured Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers (savoiardi) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa.
The recipe has been adapted into many varieties of cakes and other desserts. Its origins are often disputed among Italian regions Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto.
Most accounts of the origin of tiramisu date its invention to the 1960s in the region of Veneto, Italy, at the restaurant 'Le Beccherie' in Treviso. Specifically, the dish is claimed to have first been created by a confectioner named Roberto Linguanotto, owner of 'Le Beccherie'. Some debate remains, however. Historical records state that Tiramisu has aphrodisiac effects and was served in brothels in Treviso.
Numerous variations of Tiramisu exist. Some cooks use other cakes or sweet, yeasted breads, such as panettone, in place of ladyfingers. Other cheese mixtures are used as well, some containing raw eggs, and others containing no eggs at all.
Marsala wine can be added to the recipe, but other liquors are frequently substituted for it in both the coffee and the cheese mixture, including dark rum, Madeira, port, brandy, Malibu, or Irish cream and especially coffee-flavoured liqueurs such as Tia Maria and Kahlúa. Amaretto is also often used to enhance the taste of tiramisu.