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Grana Padano

Tiramisu 1 & 2

The secret of “young” Tiramisu is in the quality of its ingredients


Despite its enormous popularity (see The contentious origin of a piece if heaven), in Italy and around the world, Tiramisu must be considered one of the most recent “traditional” Italian sweets. Its birth date is very recent but then, its main ingredients are relatively young, too, according to the standards of other Italian traditions.
The savoiardi, for example, also known as ladyfingers in English and in French as biscuits à la cuillère, were probably born “just” in the 16th century (see Francesco Elmi’s Recipe below). Their name comes from Savoy, a Duchy on the border of Italy and France, which included lands belonging to both of today’s states. The Savoy Dynasty eventually produced the first kings o


f the unified Italy in the 19th century. Also known as sponge-fingers, trifle sponges or boudoir biscuits savoiardi according to tradition were invented to celebrate the visit of a French King to the Duchy of Savoy.



Even more recent is the history of the Sicilian Marsala wine; at least in the way it is made today. It was an English wine merchant, John Woodhouse, who, in 1773, “created” it, by fortifying a very old Sicilian wine, known by the name of the town in the Province of Trapani since the times of the ancient Romans, and shipping it to the UK, his homeland. It was another Englishman, Benjamin Ingham, who further improved the quality of Marsala, and then finally, in 1833, with Vincenzo Florio, Italians too begun to produce this fantastic wine, which after some decades of decadence, in the past century, has now recovered levels of excellent quality.

The origins of Mascarpone cheese date back to the 17th century, again according to tradition, but there are no documents to confirm it. Mascarpone is a triple cream cheese made from fresh cream to which some tartaric acid is added; after this step, which is called denaturation, the whey is removed without pressure or aging. Still controversial are the origins of the name of Mascarpone,

Mascarpone Cheese

which was born in a rural area close to Milan, on the Po Plain, between Lodi and Abbiategrasso. It could come from Mascarpa, the name of a product made with the whey of stracchino or from Mascarpia, ricotta in the local dialect. Yet others claim that the real name of this cheese is Mascherpone, because it was produced on the Mascherpa family farm (cascina Mascherpa) between Milan and Pavia that no longer exists today.
In any case, the key to a good tiramisu is all in these ingredients and their quality. Many pastry chefs or home cooks fail when, for example, they prepare it by using a poor quality mascarpone or some replacement such as ricotta. The correct Mascarpone is critical. While Mascarpone is relatively easy to make, producers around the world still do not have the know-how or the machinery of Italian manufacturers.



500 gr granulated sugar
400 gr egg whites
350 gr egg yolks
450 gr low-gluten wheat W 160- 180, P/L 0,45-0,50
100 gr honey
200 gr starch
0,5 gr vanilla
Icing sugar for dusting


Whip the egg whites with the granulated sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
Trickle the egg yolks beaten with the honey into this, while delicately mixing, then add the wheat and starch, sieved and mixed with the vanilla.
On baking pans, lightly buttered and dusted with flour, form lines of the resulting mixture approximately 22 cm long with a sac a poche with a large smooth nozzle.
Dust the surface with the icing sugar, and eliminate the excess sugar by turning the pan upside-down and lightly tapping it.
Bake at 190 C° with open draw for approximately 10 minutes.

Yields 40 savoiardi, 22 cm long


La Vita è Dolce now in Moscow with Pietro Rongoni’s Tiramisu


Pietro Rongoni’s Tiramisu is the protagonist of the fourth step of La Vita è dolce in Moscow, Russia. Pietro’s Tiramisu is celebrated in the newly open Piccolino Restaurants where the chefs are Alessio Gini and Ezechiele Mattia Barbuto.In the Russian Capital the name of Pietro.

Pietro Rongoni
Alessio Gini
Ezechiele Barbuto

Rongoni, who has been working there for over 11 years, is synonymous not only of great Tiramisu but also of quality traditional Italian Cuisine, which the chef has always promoted in the five establishments in which he has worked at, including La Grotta and Fidelio. “I had to stay only for four months in Moscow,” remembers Pietro. The Milan born chef has taught the secrets of Italian Cuisines to the Russians, plus he has formed a mob of talented young chefs (including Alessio and Ezechiele) who are now cooking everywhere in Moscow and Russia at large. “This makes me proud and I believe that is more important than economic success.” Difficulties were huge when Pietro arrived. “I am an orthodox of Italian Cuisine, I am against shortcuts and counterfeiting and this penalised me,” he says now. “I remember people sending back Carbonara because there was no cream, but Carbonara has no cream, without ifs or buts.” He stubbornly kept making Carbonara the right way. “So today, finally, Russians understand what it has to be in order to be Carbonara; actually they laugh now when they see the horrible versions made with cream.”The same has happened with Risotto. Pietro has made it since the beginning the way it should be done. “In any restaurant I have worked at, I had at least eight risottos on the menu.”In 2007 a journalist called him “the genius of Risotto.”

Moscow- The Kremlin

Pietro is almost 60 but as he says “his spirit and will” are the same as when he started. In a couple of months he will launch a new venture in Russia; “I will call the new restaurant Serenata, and once again, it will be a hymn to the great Italian culinary tradition,” he promises. And of course, Tiramisu will be – once again – the king of desserts.


The Classic Tiramisu at Findi restaurant, Paris, and the authentic recipe by Francesco Elmi


From Thursday June 25th to Wednesday July 1st, 2009, the second step of La Vita è Dolce is in Paris, at the Findi Restaurant, where the Italian Chef de Cuisine is Giorgio De Chirico, a long time GVCI associate. Born in Naples in 1964, Giorgio did his culinary studies in Firenze, at the School Aurelio Saffi, one of the very oldest in town. In the first years of his career, Giorgio did some stints as a chef on cruising ships (Costa) and worked in Florence, including at the prestigious Grand Hôtel Villa Medici.

In 1993 he went to work in Lebanon, where he stayed for over 12 years, as a Chef de Cuisine, at the Restaurant Il Giardino, in the five star hotel Al Bustan, in Beit Mery. He then moved to France, where before arriving at the Findi Restaurant in 2008, in Paris, he worked at the Restaurants Prego, Serris and Borgia, Lognes.

“I am in favour of traditional cuisine and quality products”, says Giorgio, who is a fan of Tiramisu made and presented in a very classic way. Findi is located in Av. George V, in a very central area of the French Capital. It’s an elegant restaurant, in an old building and was totally renovated at the end of last decade. It has an annex delicatessen with some excellent Italian cold cuts and cheeses.

Foto-10.-Findi-interior Foto-9-Findi-exterior

Tiramisu: The step by step recipe by Francesco Elmi


10 to 12 SERVES

Egg 220gr
Sugar 100gr
Mascarpone 500gr
Marsala Wine 80gr
Coffee 50gr
Salt and Cocoa
Savoiardi (similar to but larger 15/16 than Ladyfingers)


1. Separate the yolks from the egg whites. (photo1)
2. Beat the yolks and the sugar. Foto 7872 (photo 2)
3. Whip the whites and the salt.

Photo 1

4. Add the mascarpone to the yolks and sugar. (photos 3 and 4)
5. Lighten the mixture by adding the whipped egg whites. (photo 5)
6. Add the marsala to the coffee.

Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5

7. Soak the savoiardi in the mixture of coffee and marsala and lay them out in the desired mould. (photo 6)
8. Alternate layers of mascarpone with layers of savoiardi; top off with the mascarpone cream. (photos 7, 8 and 9)

PDC_7862 PDC_7898 Photo 8

9. Refrigerate and sprinkle with cocoa. (photo 10)
10. Serve at 6 to 8 ºC. (photo 11)
Note: it’s recommended, due to food safety reasons, to use pasteurized eggs or to cook the preparations with the eggs at 71 ºC (160 ºF).

Photo 9 Photo 11

Recipes Editor and La Vita è Dolce Worldwide Tour Coordinator: Elena Ruocco.

Photos: Paolo Della Corte- FOOD REPUBLIC


The contentious origin of a piece of heaven


Plenty of legends have been created around the origins of Tiramisu. One of them connects Tiramisu to the “zuppa del Duca” made in honour of Cosimo III dei Medici (1642 – 1723), without Mascarpone cheese. From Tuscany the fame of the zuppa spread out across all of Italy, and arriving in Venice, it was given the name tirame su (pick me up). Definitively, there are no sources that prove this.

Other claims have more credibility, particularly those arguing that the Tiramisu was first created in Veneto, in the city of Treviso, but in relatively recent times, perhaps in the early Seventies of the last century.

Two claims point in that direction: In 2007, an Italian Pastry chef and baker, Carminantonio Iannaccone, who now runs the Piedigrotta Bakery in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, in an interview with The Washington Post, claimed that he was the inventor of the sweet.

Carminantonio Iannaccone and his wife Bruna make news in The Washington Post

“Iannaccone's story is simple: he trained as a pastry chef in the southern city of Avellino, and then migrated to Milan to find work at the age of 12. In 1969 he married his wife, Bruna, and opened a restaurant also called Piedigrotta in Treviso, where he cooked up a dessert based on the "everyday flavours of the region": strong coffee, creamy mascarpone, eggs, Marsala and ladyfinger cookies. He says it took him two years to perfect the recipe, which was originally served as an elegant, freestanding cake”

On the other hand, also convinced that Tiramisu was born in Treviso was Giuseppe Maffioli (1925-1985), but not in the Iannaccone Restaurant. Maffioli, an actor, a writer and the founding editor of Vin Veneto, a publication on the wines of the region of Veneto, wrote in an article on coffee-based desserts published in 1981 that; “Recently, just a little more than a decade ago, in the city of Treviso emerged a new dessert, the

The first Tiramisu of Le Beccherie
Restaurant Treviso

Tiramesù. It was proposed for the first time at the restaurant Le Beccherie by a pastry chef named Loly Linguanotto, who had by chance recently held a few jobs in Germany.”

He added: “The dessert and its name, ‘Tiramesù,’ meant to describe an extraordinarily nutritious and invigorating food, immediately gained popularity. Tiramesù was prepared with absolute faithfulness or a few variations not only in the restaurants of Treviso, but in the entire Veneto region and in all of Italy. The Tiramesù is, after all, a coffee-flavoured “zuppa inglese” like the one made in my own house on the day of St. Joseph for my grandfather’s birthday. This old preparation, though, was not yet Tiramesù, and it must be said that the name has its own prestigious importance.”

Roberto Linguanotto, former pastry chef of Le Beccherie

In an interview with Pietro Mascioni, in 2006, Alba Campeol, the former owner of Le Beccherie, claimed that the origin of tiramisu was an invention of her mother-in-law, after the birth of her, son (Alba’s) when she was very weak. “My mother-in-law,” she said to Mascioni “to help me recuperate some energy, gave me a zabaglione… with a bit of mascarpone cheese … and also added a bit of coffee to it.” She told Loly Linguanotto and asked him to prepare a dessert for the restaurant; “And he had the idea of making layers of Savoiardi cookies dipped in coffee. Then we added the cocoa topping. It was then that I remembered my mother-in-law’s words, and we called it ‘Tiramesù.’ It’s important to notice that in Le Becchierie tiramisu there was no Marsala Wine, while there was in Iannaccone’s. Aldo Campeoli, Alba’s husband, declared to the Washington Post, that he had never heard of Iannaccone.

Aldo and Alba Campeol, former owners of Le Beccherie Restaurant, Treviso

The dispute is still open. What is certain, however, is that, until well into the 1970s Tiramesu or Tiramisu, was not among the typical sweets of Italy. British cookbook author Elizabeth David makes no mention of the dessert in her 1954 Italian Food, nor does Marcella Hazan in The Classic Italian Cookbook (1973). And in respect to Veneto, Fernando and Tina Raris, in La Marca gastronomica published a list of typical Veneto desserts, compiled in 1964 by Giuseppe Mazzotti, on occasion of the Sixth Festival of Treviso’s Gastronomy, in which there is also no mention of Tiramisu.


Rescuing the most beloved sweet of the world (VIDEO)


The second step of La Vita è Dolce worldwide tour is dedicated to Tiramisu.
Here a step by step recipe of Tiramisu as suggested by Fabbri


Giorgio De Chirico of Findi Restaurant in Paris (France) has it in his menu this week and Francesco Elmi, watch video, presents the most authentic recipe. Tiramisu is undoubtedly the most widely known dolce italiano in the world. For this very reason, it is the most counterfeited as well: Tiramisu could well be the symbol of the unhindered spread of Italian cuisine in the world over the last 30 years. It has been described as heaven in your mouth, but certainly, to help make it famous the relative easiness of its preparation has occured. It’s a dessert that doesn’t need any cooking, if there are packaged savoiardi on hand. It keeps well for a couple of days, it’s served cold, so it’s ideal for the end of the meal. But, as simple as it may be, if you use incorrect ingredients and exceed in creativity in its preparation - serious and all-too-common faults - you will find yourself with a Frankenstein dessert that has nothing to do with the original dish.


An Italian gastronomer, Davide Paolini, alias il Gastronauta, was right when, some time ago, he said that both pizza and Tiramisu should be granted the European Union GTS (Guaranteed Traditional Specialty) protection.Chefs are free to be as creative as they can, but should not label their creation, however inspired it may be by a traditional dish, with the name of that dish; firstly because it misleads the customer and secondly because they are exploiting a competitive advantage that doesn’t belong to them. Instead, it belongs to the cultural patrimony of a region, a nation, and its people, who have the right to defend and preserve it, and thereby, their identity. In other words no one wants to stop a chef creating a dish in which tiramisu is made with garam masala but they simply shouldn’t call it tiramisu.