The best tiramisù recipe I almost ruined

When I found the “best tiramisù recipe” on The New York Times website, it seemed simple enough. And indeed it was.

It was simple because I disregarded three minor things: planning ahead, making sure I had the right tools and learning proper technique.

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

Scrumptious, yeah?

To add to the claim that it was the “classic tiramisù,” it looks downright awesome. I’ll add three caveats to my post:

  1. The seemingly copious amount of cocoa powder on top is not the “tablespoon” that the recipe calls for, but it’s also not the grave-depth amount I added because I didn’t have a sifter. (See below)
  2. Only tonight will I be able to add photos of my outcome, since it’s still chilling due to lack of planning on my part. (See below)(Update: See further below, because I’m finishing this post after chilling and enjoying.)
  3. The lack of a sifter and the underestimated chill time were due to a lack of planning. (Also see below…)

Beats even cheesecake

But I have to admit, tiramisù has for the last several years beat out cheesecake if I have a choice in desserts at a restaurant, and if I am not too stuffed to comply with the waiter’s subtle command of, “Did you leave enough room for dessert?”

As a teenager, I fell in love with cheesecake and in fact had Mom buy a strawberry cheesecake for my birthday for the next several years.

I had spurned this delicacy in my earlier years, thinking it was made of some kind of spoiled dairy product. “Cheese?” and “Cake?” Nope. But having tried it at my friend Dave’s house when his mother made a simple version of it, I was sold.

Along came tiramisù.

I can’t remember the first time, but there have been many times I’ve had it since then or, should I say, it’s had me. It varies in quality much more so than does cheesecake, in my opinion, which makes it all the more elusive as something I wanted to try.

Don’t you know that “men don’t use maps”?

The directions on the Times recipe clearly state that it takes “25 minutes plus chilling.” So I think…”Well, the ingredients are already cold and there’s no baking. How much chilling can there be?

And off I go. Off on my journey. I read the list of ingredients and hit up the big H-E-B for all of them. (Because the new store on Main Street — the “big H-E-B,” as it’s called, has everything.)

What I failed to do, however, was to read down into the Directions to see that I needed to “sift” the cocoa powder onto the bottom of a baking dish and also on the top of the creation.

A sifter would be able to keep burger grease from flying up at you, if you wanted it to, and also allow cocoa powder to be evenly applied to the bottom of the baking dish and the top of the last layer of mascarpone cheese mixture. Splatter screens can perform only one of those functions.

H-E-B, no doubt, sells sifters. But that was not on my list.

Don’t “agitate”

“Folding” something into something else is a term I’d heard elsewhere. For other people. Making other things. Only about halfway through ostensibly “folding” the mascarpone mixture into the eggs and sugar mixture did I realize I was “agitating” it. Agitating is definitely something one shouldn’t do with a relatively gentle mixture like this. I mean, using a hand mixer to fold something is just shy of using a jackhammer for a back massage.

There was a little voice in that process that said, “Do you really know what ‘folding’ means, or is your jackhammering going to result in medical malpractice?”

I Googled it, and course corrected it mid-stream.

Solid triple, then stole home

Even though I used a jackhammer, even though I used a splatter screen, even though I hadn’t planned to know not to use a jackhammer or a splatter screen, the result was a solid triple, and I stole home by sheer grace.

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