Two years ago, when I was crazy about everything Italian, I was crazy about tiramisu. The best tiramisu I've ever tried was from a restaurant called Buca di Beppo. Many tiramisu recipes I've come across only uses some combinations of whipped cream, sbaglione or mascapone, but never all three. I've even seen recipes that call for just whipped cream alone! Then there's the issue of coffee. To me, tiramisu should be coffeey and not chocolaty! Then only role chocolate plays in a tiramisu should be in powdery form and on top of a finished coffee-flavored tiramisu. Unfortunately I've tasted many tiramisu that tasted no hint of coffee. Lastly, I like my tiramisu a bit alcoholy, at least that's what Buca's was.
Before going to Italy I didn't know much about espresso. In fact, the only time I had espresso was at Fry's Electronic Store's foodcourt area. They gave us a huge cup that was 1/10 full of espresso. We didn't know how to drink it, so we filled the whole cup with milk. Even more shameful was when my Italian friend Lorenzo stayed at my apartment in San Francisco last year, I would prepare him instant coffee with powdered milk for breakfast. I feel very bad for him now and I guess that is why the first morning I was in Milan, he took me to a cafe and had a real cup of Italian cappuccino with beautiful milk forms on top! Don't worry, I have since been making delicious Illy cappuccino for some time now since getting back from Italy with my Delonghi espresso machine!
Back to my quest to search for the best tiramisu recipe... I wanted to replicate Buca's tiramisu recipe, because I thought it was delicious, but obviously I didn't have access to its recipe. Buca's menu describes its tiramisu as:
Our powerfully flavored Tiramisu features homemade ladyfingers soaked in dark rum and espresso, layered with sweetened mascarpone cheese and topped with cocoa and crumbled hazelnut biscotti.From that description I got a hint --> rum! Many recipes don't call for alcohol, even authentic Italian recipes I got from authentic Italian friends. But rum alone isn't enough for me, so I proceed to search and study countless recipes online and take parts that sounded good to me. What I came up below is my own version of Buca's tiramisu recipe. I have made it several times, and have all been well received by friends and family. Although, I have yet to make one for a real Italian!