I started making Tiramisu' soon after moving to the States since I grew up eating it and the ones I tried in restaurants were always disappointing. I didn't start with a recipe as I knew the ingredients, the method, and how it was supposed to taste. It took me three trials until I found the perfect combination. I normally make Tiramisu' with fresh eggs, and I love making it because it is one of the easiest dessert to make, if you use store bought ingredients it can be ready in 15 minutes, yes 15. Not to mention the effect it has on people! I normally use imported mascarpone since the domestic ones are not quite right, if you had tasted the real thing you would know what I am talking about. Yes, you can call me a snob, which is kind of true in many things Italian. Two blocks from my Venetian home there used to be a cheese store, or latteria Plip, knows as La Plip, and they used to make their own mascarpone. It was stored in little plastic tubs, nested in waxed white paper. It was so creamy and sweet, you could eat it by the spoonfuls. During the summer they wouldn't make it as it spoils really easily. Sadly, like many other small stores that couldn't survive the slow death Venice is suffering, the latteria is now defunct, and in its space there is a snack bar. RIP.
Mascarpone is pronounced with the "e" at the end, not like mascarpon, and the "e" is pronounced like in red not like in reed. Every letter is pronounced in Italian, and if you want to actually "hear" how it is pronounced check this post at Briciole, go to the bottom and click on the audio file to hear Simona's voice. The post has also wonderful instructions on how to make mascarpone.
So when, where and how was tiramisu born? Tiramisu is said to have its origins in Treviso (Italy), and there are quite a few stories about how it came to be created. One story traces the tiramisu as far back as the Renaissance claiming that it was first made in honour of the visit of Grand Duke Cosimo di Medici to Tuscany. Yet another one points to the tiramisu being an adaptation of the "Zuppa Inglese" referring to the sponge cake and cream layered English Trifle. However, experts in this area generally agree that the tiramisu as we know it today, was born in the ‘70s. Some believe that the Tiramisu was created in the the Le Beccherie (a restaurant in Treviso). Others suggest that Tiramisu was first made in 1971 by an Italian baker named Carminantonio Iannaccone in a small bakery in Treviso, Italy.
You can find the complete recipe and admire other bakers' creations here.
* The recipe for ladyfingers is really easy, don't be scared, they look beautiful and are really light. I thought they needed a little bit more sugar, but for this purpose it wouldn't matter as they are soaked in coffee anyway.