Perhaps your 30-square meter condo won’t allow for sizable electronic appliances, or you’ve messed up one too many batches of brownies to have the slightest bit of motivation to bake. But you’ve got a ton of options for tasty desserts that hardly entail heat, nor stepping anywhere near the oven. Here we explore an Italian no-bake classic that’s stood the test of time: tiramisu.
Its history is a much–debated matter, with both the Veneto and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions claiming ownership of the dessert. And while some trace its origins to as early as the 18th century, others insist it to be a fairly recent invention. Either way, tiramisu remains a no-fail, crowd-pleasing classic treat to this day. Literally translating to “pick me up” (a reference to the way it combines coffee, sugar, and occasionally booze), and seemingly of the icebox dessert category, tiramisu typically consists of savoiardi (that’s ladyfingers to you and me!) dipped in espresso (which, especially in modern times, may be spiked with liquor) and layered with a custard or cream mixture (typically of sugar, eggs, and some form of cheese—e.g. cream cheese or, as purists will insist, mascarpone).
Our version subs in ingredients easily found within the Philippine landscape: Barako coffee (the strong, robust coffee variety that hails from Batangas); kesong puti (the mildly salty fresh cheese made with carabao milk which tends to be on the lean end of the spectrum by itself, but we combine with ultra-rich mascarpone for our version); and broas (the pasalubong favorite common in regions such as Lucban and Bohol, but also easy to find commercialized versions of in the supermarket). Simply prepare the coffee mix and the filling, soak the broas and form alternate layers with the cream, and let it set in the refrigerator. From here it is a mostly hands-off affair on your part, now under the hands of the cool temperature—all the tiramisu asks, in return, is your patience as it chills.
Magic happens within each layer: as the cream firms up, the ladyfingers submit their solidity to the dampening power of the soaking liquid, allowing the bitter edge of the coffee to seep into all of its nooks and crannies. With time, the layers meld and find in each other their creamy, bittersweet midpoint. Topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and served in slices that showcase the contrasting layers, the resulting dessert is not unlike a good layer cake, with moist, sponge-y ladyfingers and the custard that acts as the filling. It’s the kind of dessert that’s both convenient (it’s easy to make and can be prepared in advance) and almost universally well-loved (your gang, your colleagues, and your titas will thank you)—no oven required.
Cheesy Barako Tiramisu
Time: 8 or more hours ( 20 minutes prep / chilling overnight )
Yield: 6-12 servings
Ingredients: Barako Soak
- 3 cups brewed Barako coffee
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
Ingredients: Kesong Puti Cream
- 2 cups mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup Kesong Puti
- 1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup white sugar
- 1 box (about 40 pcs.) broas
- Barako soak
- Kesong puti cream
¼ cup cocoa powder
Procedure: bARAKO sOAK
- In a large bowl, combine the barako coffee and brown sugar.
- Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Procedure: Kesong Puti Cream
- Place all ingredients onto bowl mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Starting on slow speed, whip the mixture until the sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes.
- Slowly increase the speed and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Prepare a 9×13 clear serving dish.
- Dip the broas, two at a time, into the coffee soak until the broas has absorbed the coffee. (Be careful not to let it get soggy.)
- Place a layer of barako-soaked broas on the bottom of the dish.
- Take half of the cheese mixture and spread it evenly over the broas layer.
- Repeat the last two steps.
- Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, generously dust the top with cocoa powder.