This is NOT your traditional tiramisu.
This is tiramisu taken to the next level, with a Frangelico coffee syrup, dark chocolate and orange cremeux, and a coffee and hazelnut crumb. What you end up with is sweet, salty, bitter, with a slightly fragrant citrus flavour from the orange.
Tiramisu is one of those desserts that everyone has (or someone they know has) their own versions of a good tiramisu. And almost everyone has an opinion on what a good tiramisu should be – boozy vs. less boozy, well soaked vs. just soaked sponge, with custard, with chocolate. I’ve had some good, a few amazing, and some really bad tiramisus. Regardless of what’s in it, I think a good tiramisu should never be so soggy that the sponge disintegrates, the mascarpone should be light, smooth, and creamy, and there should always be coffee and chocolate.
I’m not claiming this is the best tiramisu. But it is a version that I really love. Not only does it have chocolate and orange (best flavour combination!) it also has Frangelico. I have really fond memories of Frangelico. It was the first drink that I actually liked – Frangelico on the rocks with fresh lime. It reminded me of Nutella…in drinkable liquid gold form.
But if you’re not as crazy for chocolate and orange, or just want a more simple and traditional tiramisu. Just exclude the cremeux and the crumbs, and you can replace the Frangelico with a coffee liqueur like Tia Maria. Frangelico is not a strong liqueur, so the taste of alcohol in this is quite light. For a boozier dessert, add more liqueur.
Makes approximately 10-12 jars.
350-400g Savioardi sponge fingers
Cocoa powder and toasted hazelnuts to decorate
90g caster sugar
2 heaped tablespoons instant coffee
Coffee and Hazelnut Crumb (adapted from Sweet Studio by Darren Purchese)
75g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
75g caster sugar
50g dark brown sugar
125g hazelnut meal
2 tablespoons instant coffee
100g unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Orange Cremeux (adapted from Patisserie by William Curley)
125g dark chocolate (I used Callebaut callets with 54.5% cocoa solids)
125g thickened cream
1 teaspooon vanilla bean paste
zest of 1 orange
45g egg yolks (approx. 3 yolks)
20g caster sugar
12g unsalted butter, cubed
60g egg yolks (approx. 4 yolks)
80g caster sugar
500g mascarpone cheese
300ml thickened cream
- Make the coffee syrup. Put the water, sugar, and coffee in a small saucepan and cook on low-medium heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Leave aside to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, add the Frangelico.
- Make the coffee and hazelnut crumb. Preheat oven to 170°C. Sift flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl, Mix in the salt, both sugars, coffee, and hazelnut meal. Pour in the melted butter and mix with a spatula until a coarse crumb is formed. Sprinkle on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cooled, break up into crumbs and small chunks with your fingers.
- Make the chocolate orange cremeux. Place the chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover loosely with cling wrap and let the zest infuse in the cream for an hour. Strain this mixture into a clean saucepan (to remove the zest) and put it back on the heat to reheat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until light in colour (about 3 minutes). While whisking, pour half the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture slowly, whisking until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk mixture. Over low heat, cook the mixture until it coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a spatula. It's really important that you stir constantly because it can easily overcook and scramble the eggs. Once cooked, pour into a strainer over the chocolate, and mix until smooth. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, string with a spatula, until smooth and glossy. Leave in the fridge to cool until required.
- Make the mascarpone cream. Whisk yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water. Whisk until mixture is thick, fluffily, light in colour, and leaves a trail, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and whisk for another 3 minutes until mixture has cooled. Put the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and use a spatula to loosen. Fold the egg mixture into the mascarpone cheese. In a separate bowl, whip the thickened cream until soft-medium peaks (not yet stiff peaks, but more than soft peaks). Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until combined. You want to end up with a consistency that is pipeable.
- To assemble. Have all your glasses and components ready. Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain tip with the mascarpone cream. Pour half the coffee syrup into a shallow baking dish or tray. Starting with a few savoiardi sponge fingers at a time, break each sponge finger in two, and dunk them into the coffee syrup, ensuring both sides are soaked in syrup. Place both halves of a soaked sponge finger on to the bottom of each glass. Pipe a layer of mascarpone cream on top of the sponge. Scatter the coffee and hazelnut crumb over the mascarpone cream. Drop a generous dollop of the chocolate and orange cremeux on top of the crumbs, then place another layer of soaked sponge fingers, then top with mascarpone cream. Flatten tops of jars with a small offset spatula. Dust with cocoa powder and leave to set in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to develop.
- To decorate. Top each jar with a teaspoon of coffee and hazelnut crumbs. Place sliced strawberries or raspberries on top of the crumbs, then sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.
The tiramisu jars are best eaten the next day. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.
The coffee and hazelnut crumbs can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. It goes very nicely with chocolate mousse.
You might have leftover sponge fingers, depending on how much you soaked them with syrup. Use them as decoration or save them for next time!
Replace Frangelico with Tia Maria for a more traditional tiramisu. For extra booziness, fold a couple splashes of Tia Maria through the mascarpone cream.