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What Is Tiramisu and Its History?

Published September 7th, 2021 by Devteam

What is Tiramisu? The short answer is a sponge cake, soaked in coffee and alcohol, then layered with powdered chocolate and mascarpone cheese.

But it is actually so much more than that! It's a dessert centerpiece; a conversation starter.

It's art—art that inspires and delights so many people the world over. It has a rich history and so many different variations. It is a must-have dish in many Italian homes and restaurants.

To answer the question of "What is Tiramisu?", let's dive into Tiramisu's culture, recipes, and long-lasting appeal. It's time to explore the dessert that translates to "carry-me-up" because oh, it does just that.

The History of Tiramisu

Tiramisu originated in the Italian town of Treviso in the year 1800.  Legend has it that its creator was the Madame of a local brothel

She noticed that when her customers would feast on the dish, they would perk up and be full of energy. The accidental aphrodisiac became quite a hit! But what exactly is Tiramisu? 

What Is Tiramisu?

Tiramisu is a pretty basic dessert to make, and the ingredients don't tend to vary from place to place. 

You'll need eggs, sugar, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, coffee, and cocoa powder. Oh, and booze. And depending on what kind you use, you can have a variety of tastes and sensations.

It's made with Marsala wine and rum. Brandy is also a popular choice, but you can actually use whatever type of alcohol you like.

Be aware that alcohol is not just for its effects, but also for taste. If you use something like vodka, your dessert will taste like coffee and ethanol.

Coffee liqueurs, Kahlua, and Baileys are also big hits, but if you're a traditionalist, stick with the wine and rum.

Remember this is a no-bake dessert, and the alcohol will not burn off, so serving it at a kid's birthday party is a bad idea.

However, there are non-alcoholic recipes out there, and they still taste pretty good.

Cannolis vs. Tiramisu

Are you a Beatles fan, or more of an Elvis person? Cat or dog lover? Cannoli or Tiramisu?

Believe it or not, there are many people that argue over which is their favorite Italian dessert. Why not enjoy them both? Well, if you want pure decadence, it's Tiramisu all the way.

They are quite similar, and yet very different at the same time. 

As mentioned earlier, Tiramisu is not cooked or baked. Cannolis are a fried, crispy shell filled with delicious creme.

Both feature alcohol, but with Cannoli's the booze burns off when the shell is deep-fried. They both are filled with sweet-tasting cheese. Tiramisu uses mascarpone, and Cannolis have sweetened ricotta. 

Simply the Best

Making your own Tiramisu at home may seem daunting, but is actually quite simple, and we encourage you to do it.

You can find hundreds of different sites claiming to have the best Tiramisu recipe. They'll defend that title to the end.

Well, they can't all be the best! But you've got to start somewhere, and has the tastiest one around.

Authentically Italian

Coming back around to the burning question, "What is Tiramisu?" It's the ultimate dessert food, a guilty pleasure, a decadence overload, a mood booster, and a calorie bomb.

It's also pure Italy and there's a reason why it's such a sought-after bookend to a meal: it's heaven on a plate. Carry-me-up, indeed!

Are you in the Portland, Oregon area (or are planning to be)? Then do yourself a favor and check out De Nicolas' Authentic Italian Restaurant.

We have a wide variety of food, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and will treat you like family. Truly authentic Italian.

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