Homemade Tiramisu (with substitute marscapone cheese) 提拉米蘇

Recently, I was gifted with a package of savoiardi biscuits (otherwise known as ladyfingers), and I decided it was high time that I tried making my own tiramisu.  During my search for a suitable recipe, I realized that most of the recipes included raw eggs. Since the tiramisu would be traveling to work with me, in Taipei’s scorching heat,  I didn’t want run the risk of giving everyone food poisoning.  So I thought the safest option would be to use a recipe that didn’t include raw eggs.

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I decided to use his recipe from BBC food as a guideline, because it was the most straightforward one.

Tiramisu 

  • 568ml pot double cream ( I used heavy cream)
  • 250g tub mascarpone* (see notes below)
  • 75ml marsala
  • 5 tbsp golden caster sugar  (substituted powdered sugar)
  • 300ml strong coffee, made with 2 tbsp coffee granules and 300ml boiling water ( I used Starbuck’s VIA instant espresso powder)
  • 175g pack sponge fingers
  • 25g chunk dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. Put the cream, mascarpone, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk until the cream and mascarpone have completely combined and have the consistency of thickly whipped cream.
  2. Prepare your serving dish. Put the coffee into a shallow dish and dip in a few sponge fingers at a time, turning for a few secs until they are nicely soaked, but not soggy. Layer these into your dish until you have used half the biscuits, then spread over half of the creamy mixture. Using the coarse side of the grater, grate over most of the chocolate. Then repeat the layers (you should use up all the coffee), finishing with the creamy layer.
  3. Cover and chill for a few hrs or overnight. This can now be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. To serve, dust with cocoa powder and grate over the remainder of the chocolate

My other dilemma was that I was unable to find marscapone cheese here in Taipei.  I tried three different grocery stores before giving up, and deciding to find a substitute instead. I did a quick search on the web, and  to my great relief, found that a substitute is indeed possible! Most of the recipes recommended that a combination of cream cheese, heavy cream and butter can be used.   I decided to use Nigella Lawson’s version.  Here isNigella Lawson substitute suggestions for marscapone cheese an excerpt from her website:

Mascarpone is a cream cheese with a high fat content and a slightly sweet taste. It is difficult to find a substitute and regular cream cheese has a lower fat content and a more acidic flavour. However you could try beating together 225g (8 ounces) full fat cream cheese with 60ml (4 tablespoons/1/4 cup) double or whipping cream and 30g (1 ounce/2 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter until just blended. This will give the equivalent of around 300g (10 ounces/1 1/4 cups) mascarpone.

Luckily, cream cheese, cream and butter are all easily accessible at regular grocery stores in Taipei. I ended up buying all of the items from my local Wellcome supermarket.

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Substitute for marscapone cheese: cream cheese (combined with a mixture of butter and heavy cream) 

I would recommend that you soften the cream cheese before you begin. It just makes the whole process much easier. (I softened the cream cheese quickly in the microwave~ I didn’t want to run the risk of letting it soften in my 30C+ degree kitchen and having it go bad).

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After adding in the softened butter, this is roughly the consistency I came up with:

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I whipped the cream with a bit of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract, and added it to the marscapone substitute.

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The rest of the recipe came together quickly after that. I dipped the ladyfingers in espresso and then layered them with my marscapone substitute.

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Some recipes recommended topping with cocoa powder, which I didn’t have handy, so I decided to substitute shaved chocolate as a topping instead.  Given the current weather in Taiwan (topping out at 35C+ every single livelong day) it would be fool’s game to do this beforehand. I bought along my mini grater (which gets used maybe once every blue moon) and the chocolate bar, and let everyone grate their own.

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Part of the joy about creating your own food is the ability to adapt recipes to suit your current circumstances.  I definitely do not think it’s necessary to bankrupt yourself for ingredients, and I think it’s always worthwhile to do some research to find substitutes that are easily available in your country.

Recipe notes: The flavor of the marscapone substitute was quite good~ creamy with a slight slight tanginess.  However, I would definitely just lightly brush the lady fingers with the espresso instead of dipping them, because they turned out to be a bit soggy towards the end.  Or better yet, line the pan with unsoaked lady fingers, because the liquids settle towards the bottom anyway. I might also just use plain whipped cream as the top layer, to lighten the overall flavor of the tiramisu. 

If you are in Taiwan, I saw ladyfingers for sale at Jason’s Marketplace, and of course, you can also make your own substitutions~ I’ve seen recipes use sponge cake, in lieu of lady fingers.

Enjoy!

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4 comments

  1. I didn’t know that Vincenzovo was sold abroad as well! It is definitely the most famous brand for savoiardi in Italy 🙂 by the way, your tiramisù looks really yummy!

  2. Thanks for the tip! I used to live in London and find it easy to find the ingredients.. Unfortunately, things haven’t improved much being back here even in Taipei for more selections of ingredients. I’ve been wanting to make tiramisu from scratch, your blog encourage me a lot to make one. Cheers!

    • Sher~ I’m so happy to hear this! I did find marscapone at a grocery store in the basement of Xinyi Mitsukoshi (The Beautiful Market) but it was insanely expensive for such a little amount)


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