I remember being in my 20s in Washington DC when I first heard about this thing called tiramisu, which sounded exotic and alien back then to a wanna-be cosmopolitan, Asian man-boy, not at all Italian-sounding I thought. Unfailingly it tasted great each time I had it, too rich in many cases, but being impartial with desserts in general I wasn’t always looking for it. I also remember a then-neighbor fancied a rich, very boozy version of it and would invite me whenever he made one. Back then the idea I could make one myself was completely far-fetched – my tiny studio apartment kitchen wasn’t conducive to any kind of culinary adventuring – and simply ordering it from a restaurant was fine with me. How things have turned around in this age of Covid.
My first attempt at making tiramisu was a lesson in patience as I didn’t have a proper mixer, which is essential if you want to mix anything into thick mascarpone, and no mixing bowls at all. What could have been a 20-minute process stretched to over an hour, but as with most things the learning curve went up and down quickly after the first try. All that effort was encouraging though as in less than 24 hours, the big 2 liter dish of tiramisu went empty.
Given that huge success and relative ease of making it, there was no question I’d do another one, and with the help of some new mixing bowls, a proper sifter, and lessons learned from a messy first attempt, it was much easier to come up with another bowl of mascarpone goodness this time around. Still boozy but only ever so slightly. Tiramisu in English from what I’ve read apparently means ‘cheer me up’ – given its substantial contribution to my waistline, tiramisu may as well be Italian for dad bod.