Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts. We love the version Olive Garden has, and after having it a few weeks ago after our trip to Disneyland, Luke and I decided it must be recreated at home. I've made it before but the mascarpone-cream top part was lumpy and runny, and I soaked the ladyfingers too much. This time I got it pretty close to Olive Garden's!
A few things about tiramisu. Mascarpone is what gives the creamy top its unique flavor. It is called "Italian cream cheese," but it definitely doesn't have the same flavor as regular cream cheese, it's less tangy. You can find it at most grocery stores now, near the specialty cheeses.
Next, you can either make or buy ladyfingers. The ones you buy are usually dry and hard, if you make them they will be much softer. I've found it really doesn't matter! I actually have a hard time finding them in my grocery stores, and World Market (where I could always find them) closed down, so for me making them is kind of a necessity. I used this recipe, and they turned out well.
1-2 pkgs ladyfingers (about 24, bought or homemade)
8 oz. mascarpone
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. Powdered sugar, divided in half
1/2 c. cocoa
3/4 c. strong coffee or espresso mixed with 1/4 c. coffee liquor (or just straight coffee)
Whip the mascarpone until smooth, then add the cream and whip until it starts to get thick. Add 1/4 c. powdered sugar and continue to whip until it looks like Cool Whip. Set aside.
Mix the coffee and liquor together in a shallow dish. Dip each ladyfinger in it on just one side, you want them wet but not soaked or dripping or soggy. Lay them in a deep baking dish or pan, coffee side up. Layer them two or three deep in the pan (homemade ladyfingers come out thinner, so I did 3 deep). Don't worry about using all the coffee mixture. Spread the mascarpone mixture over top.
Mix the cocoa with the remaining 1/4 c. powdered sugar, and use a strainer or sifter (or a loose leaf tea ball works too!) to sprinkle the cocoa mixture over top. You just want to dust it, not smother it, so if there's any left over, save it to make mochas with coffee (stir a tablespoon or two into a cup of hot coffee!). Chill the tiramisu for a few hours and then serve - and enjoy!