Monday, February 6, 2012

Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse – Pick’em Up and Lay’em Down

Most foodies know that Tiramisu is a decadent dessert featuring coffee soaked ladyfingers layered with a zabaione and mascarpone, but what many people don’t know is that the recipe’s name is one of the best culinary double entendres ever.

“Tiramisu” translates to "pick me up." Considering that this popular Italian dessert is spiked with proven mood-elevators such as coffee, cocoa, sugar, and alcohol, the name seems to fit perfectly. But wait, there’s more.

As legend has it, tiramisu was a popular snack with the “working girls” of northern Italy, where the dessert originated. So, not only does "pick me up" refer metaphorically to the obvious restorative effects of the dessert, but also more literally to the solicitation of another customer.

Which brings us to this upcoming Valentine’s Day. Not only would this make for a very happy ending for your V-Day meal, but think about the stimulating conversation that could follow when you recount this racy tale.

Anyway, even if you don’t end up talking about Italian prostitutes over dessert, if you’re a fan of chocolate mousse, and you enjoy a good "pick me up," you can’t go wrong with this deliciously decadent, yet still fairly light dessert. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
3.5 oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 tbsp espresso coffee, or strong regular coffee
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp Marsala wine (may sub with rum, or omit)
2 egg yolks
4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped

84 comments:

Chris K. said...

So if I hear you correctly, when I make this for Valentine's Day I'm going to get blown ...away by the amazing flavors?

Chef John said...

Yes, yes you will.

Nana ~ said...

Hi chef John I LOVE your recipes and videos!!
I used to HATE/DESPISE cooking because I always thought it was so boring and time consuming and too many ingredients, but you make it so fun and interesting so now I'm interested in food!!!

PS me and my mom had your peanut butter and jelly chicken wings yesterday while watching the super bowl and we couldn't get over how tasty it was!!!!

go giants :D

Jaliel said...

Chef John, what do you recommend to substitute the 2tbsp Marsala wine if I like to make it for my beautiful, 4 months to be a mom, wife?
Thanks for all your recipes.

Anonymous said...

Wow Chef John,you've done it again. I would totally have seconds with you any day of the year <3

Chef John said...

Attn people who don't want alcohol: it evaporates when you heat it, and the trace amounts that remain should cause zero issues, pregnant or otherwise. :). If you can't have it for other reasons then just leave it out.

Anonymous said...

I kind of blanked out for a minute when I heard you say 'eXpresso' three or four times in quick succession.

Moka pot coffee would be a good cheap alternative for the espressoless.

Emerald_Mara85 said...

Finally you did tiramisu...

So want to do it...
Hopefully can find mascarpone cheese here in Malaysia.

Oh yes, in Malaysia, tiramisu doesn't have ladyfingers biscuits but with a layer of sponge cake. Very tasteless though...
If you come to Malaysia, don't go for mostly western cakes, go traditional or local like pandan cake.

Libby Streed said...

Hello Chef John--Can I substitute a good quality port for the Marsala? Btw, love the video!

Anonymous said...

Chef John, you make food that I want to cook. I don't make every recipe that you list, but the ones I try have always worked.

norman said...

chef john,
id love to get l..lots of compliments :)
one problem, we dont have mascarpone where i live, anything else i can use
so i can have se...seconds of this amizing dessert?

Chef John said...

mascarpone is just a richer cream cheese. you can use that instead, or leave it out and it will just be a touch lighter. Some prefer w/o the cheese.

Chef John said...

thanks everyone for the kind words!

nornan said...

thanks for answering so fast!
i will use cream cheese and let you know how it turnes out...

Izac said...

Hi this is the 1st time I'm commenting so I'm a little excited! I substituted mascarpone with cream cheese. Is that acceptable? Cause I have no clue where to get it from. Also, when mixed in the whipped cream, The mixture was still very liquidy. Is it because I used too much coffee? Or is it because my whipped cream isn't whipped enough? I love your videos by the way. So instructive and yet so easy and fun! Great for a teenage learning how to cook lol.

Mary said...

Chef John! You never cease to make me smile, and often it runs over to a giggle! Thanks for the great foods!

Chef John said...

Izac, Not sure. why too much coffee? Didn't you measure? Also, whip the cream so it looks like mine. If it's watery it's not done! good luck!

giraut said...

Chef John, I discovered you when looking for a good onion ring recipe to go with my Super Bowl wings. They were amazingly good, though I found that slicing the onions thicker than 1/4" was better for me -- a higher onion-to-batter ratio.

This dessert looks great, but I must correct you on your Italian etymologizing. "Tiramisu" has nothing to do with "picking up" another john (lower-case 'j'). The verb just doesn't mean that in Italian the way it does in English. There is a legend that it originated with the hookers of northern Italy who probably did need a "pick-me-up" on a regular basis. But that other thing -- not so much.

Keep up the great work. I'm about to look for a killer challah French toast recipe on your site. Hope you got one.

Anonymous said...

Would I use dry or sweet Marsala or does it matter?

Mitch said...

In keeping with the theme, I suppose you have to serve something with puttanesca sauce prior to the dessert . . .?

ChefJohnsBiggestFan said...

First of all, you rock my world. Second of all, i literally lol'd when you said somethin' bout "you want your valentine to know YOU made it not the dog" gosh that was funny. I have found that the LINDT 70% dark chocolate is BY FAR the most delish after different tries with the pot de cremes i have made (like way too many to own up to) I can't wait to make the Mousse it looks fabulous. I thought marsala wine had some relation to mushrooms. I'm excited about the pizza sauce recipe!!!

Anonymous said...

What percent chocolate did you use chef?? thx

Chef John said...

70

Nine said...

Fantastic recipe! I cannot wait to try it out. Would it be possible to make this one day ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator overnight?

Enzo said...

I'm so gonna get some secs :p

spanish girl said...

Hi Chef John, great recipe video but, I really need a printed version to make this for my Valentine!! How can I do this?? I can´t seem to find a print button anywhere... thanks

spanish girl said...

Hi Chef John, loved the recipe but, I really would like to print it. How do I go about doing that?? Let me know quick, Valentine´s Day is right around the corner!! thanks

Chef John said...

Sorry, we dont have that. I hear allrecipes is working on it.

Anonymous said...

I made this today and it was OH SO wonderful!. I did tweek it a little though. Added a little more marscapone & whipped the egg white till stff peaks then folded it through the chocolate mixture. Just as decadent but super light! Thanks chef!!:)

Anonymous said...

Oh, is this that recipe that goes and thhen with chocolate then you eat it?

Chef John said...

Maybe?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John,

In case I don't feel like inviting two extra people to my valentine's day dinner, would there be any non-obvious adjustments I'd need to make in order to halve the recipe?

Chef John said...

Yes, just halve. Btw, this makes 4 small portions. I'd make the full recipe.

irunfastXC said...

Hey, so I understand that I can omit the wine. Can I substitute the coffee with...say...hot chocolate???

Enzo said...

Hey Chef John, I made this and followed to the tee but somehow the end mixture was a bit too liquidy for piping. I wonder what I did wrong :-/

Chef John said...

did you let everything cool before adding the whipped cream??

Enzo said...

hmmm, well the chocolate mix was a bit warmer than room temperature, so perhaps that was it

Enzo said...

hmmm, well the chocolate mixture was a bit warmer than room temperature, perhaps that was it

Chef John said...

if you mix warm chocolate and whipped cream, you get un-whipped cream very quickly.

Enzo said...

ah well, lesson learned. tasted great though. thanks!

irunfastXC said...

What do you think would happen if I substituted the coffee with...cold or hot chocolate?

Chef John said...

I wouldnt care much to be honest, but it's already got enough chocolate!

Anonymous said...

When I added the espresso with the butter and chocolate, the chocolate seized. How do I prevent that?

Chef John said...

did you add all together to melt like in the video? Did you stir too soon? was it all hot and melted?

Anonymous said...

I must have stirred too soon as I added it like you did in the video.

I'll give it another shot!

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef John.

I came across an idea. Wondering if I add a raspberry extract, would that give it more of a flavor to the chocolate. If so when would I add it.

Thanks
CMM

Jaymz said...

Hi Chef John!!!!

I want to make this a day a head and then bring it to a potluck. I don't have access to a car so do you think I could pre make the mousse, leave it in a piping bag then fill them into some cups/ramekins when i get there? Will i still need to refrigerate them for 2-3 hours??

Thanks!!!

James.

P.s. you are awesome :)

Chef John said...

Why can't you just make, pipe in plastic cups, and chill, and bring to the event ready to eat? If you are early just chill when there until needed.

Anonymous said...

I need to make this recipe for a wedding rehersal dinner and it will have 43 people there. Any tips on increasing this recipe's volume or do I just make it 20 times?

Chef John said...

the recipe actually makes 4 slightly smaller portions than shown, so you would prob need 12X

Suhail Ullal said...

Chef John,

In a lot of tiramisu recipes i've seen that the egg yolks are not cooked, just a straight sugar and yolk mixing. What does the cooking (if thats the right term) of the yolks do for the custard?

Suhail.

Chef John said...

To thicken and make safer.

Jaymz said...

Hi Chef John,

The reason is because it would be really hard for me to carry the cups from my house to the potluck. I thought it be easier to transport leaving them in the piping bag.

Cilantro Recipe said...

Hi Chef John,
Thanks for the history of it. Very interesting. I did now that it meant "pick me up" but i always wondered why. I really like Chris K's comment! I would also like to respond to it saying, Yes, Chris! It always does for me! Truly my most favorite piece of dessert!

Sköm said...

I just had to greatly thank you, Chef John! I've tried some of your recipes and I must say they're amazing!
I tried this one Tiramisu Mousse today, and, just like the Mocha Pot de Creme, it definitely got me llllll-lots of compliments!! Yeah, it also got me laid!
I must say you're one of my greatest -I mean, the greatest- influences for cooking, keep up the great work!

Debbie said...

Hi Chef John! I recently came across your blog and have been HOOKED on all your videos! You are so much fun to watch (or rather listen to) and your food always looks delicious. Your videos are super helpful - being able to see exactly what my food is supposed to look like at each stage makes all the difference. Thank you!!!

I made this tonight and used the left over egg whites for your pavlova recipe. The tiramisu chocolate mousse is to die for. So light and so flavorful. The pavlova is cooling in the oven and looks awesome too. Can't wait to try more of your recipes! Please keep them coming!

1Bigg_ER said...

Don't give up if the consistency won't allow for piping. It will set just fine in the refrigerator

khoulah said...

Hey chef John,
It was a wonderful recipe, i made it not only on valentine but almost 10-11 times, it rocks !
Plus i dint use alcohol cause of islamic purpose but it went well and the appreciation i got ,that was awesome.
Thanks

Anuj Kalra said...

Hello Chef John!
This recipe looked simple enough so i decided to try it!
However when in added the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture it didn't toughened up like yours but it thickened. the consistency was not like the pasty/frosty qulaity imean. it was more fluid but thick!

What do you reckon did i do wrong?
I did however spoon it in a couple of glass bowls and now they are resting in the refrigerator!

please reply as soon as possible!
Regards
Anuj Kalra

Chef John said...

Sorry not sure! Would have to see what you're talking about to know.

Anonymous said...

On Tumblr, someone made a gif set of your video! I just thought you'd like to know.

hummelanderson.tumblr.com/post/24227203015

Anonymous said...

hey chef john!
Can i substitute the dark chocolate with regular milk chocolate? Also would you expect cadburry's bournville chocolate to have any problems with the melting?

Lucy said...

@Anuj Kalra

I made this dessert three times myself and it turned out just like his. But then I passed this recipe to my friend and she resulted having a product looks just like yours - thickened but not toughened. I think it's because 1. the heavy cream was not whipped properly (either too much or not enough), and 2, the ol' problem of over-mixing. :) Am I right Chef John?

Chef John said...

That could be, but no way to know for sure!

Marina J Payen said...

Dear Chef John,

Thank you for all your amazing recipes. Clearly so much time and effort goes into them and we just LOVE them.

I wished to ask you: can I use whipped egg whites instead of whipped cream? What do you think? If Ok, how many egg whites would you use?

Thank you! Marina

Marina J Payen said...

Dear Chef John,

Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. Clearly a lot of time and effort goes into making them. We LOVE them.

I wished to ask your opinion: can I use stiff peak egg whites instead of whipped cream? If so, how many eggs would you recommend to use?

Thank you, Marina

Chef John said...

Sorry, but wouldn't even be close! (not to mention eating raw egg whites)

James Farrand said...

This looks delicious...the first time I tried it, my chocolate seized up. :( First time this ever happened to me. I went online and read that it happens because of contact with water, so I wondered how in the world you managed to avoid this given the water in the espresso/coffee. I'm thinking of trying again, this time melting the chocolate before adding the coffee. Your videos are great, I've watched over a dozen at least!

Krystl Robinson said...

Hi Chef John,
I don't know if this has been asked but there are so many comments. I need a plain chocolate mousse recipe and after watching your video I LOVE the consistency of yours, so my question is, can I make this recipe leaving out all the tiramisu stuff and will it come out great? Thank you for your time,
Eagerly awaiting your reply,
Krystl

Chef John said...

Not sure, but just make our chocolate mouse recipe!

Mike Galovic said...

Made this and the Prosciutto wrapped, cherry stuffed chicken tonight for a late valentine's day dinner and both came out great! I think I didn't let the chocolate cool long enough before adding the whipped cream because it wasn't as firm as it should have been and the piping didn't turn out as pretty, but it still got two thumbs up from the gf. Loved the videos, these are the first recipes of yours I've tried, but there will certainly be more!

mgX said...

It is quite normal to substitute marsala with amaretto in tira misu. Would that work here?

Chef John said...

sure!

Sam Harold said...

Sorry, I've got really basic questions. Why did you use eggs ? Is it for texture, or some other aesthetic reason, or for a certain taste, or both ?

Also, in the video I think you said whipping cream rather that whipped cream or heavy cream. I'm guessing the heavy cream will give the mousse more structure; will whipping cream(36% fat) be good enough ?


Thanks John for all your effort; your videos are really slick. Love the music, the way you "sing" the English language, and the pace of your delivery.

Chef John said...

Yes, taste, texture and richness! Thanks!

Nikita Horselenberg said...

Hi chef John ,I'm only 11 years old and in to food alot! You've inspired me Thankyou :) ps really good videos tnx ;)

Chef John said...

Thank you Nikita!!

Mich said...

Hi Chef John, your videos inspired me to try cooking as I had never done before. Was looking fwd to try this easy dessert and got all the ingredients as you mentioned.
But when I mixed my choco, it turned stickier than yours, not so slick. When I whisked the wine, egg yolks and mascarpone, it turned lumpy. when mixed everything with cream, it more liquidied but harden after few hours from fridge. What did I do wrong? Was ambitius for today to try your 3 recipes, but my asparagus and garlic shrimps turned out excellent. Wanna try this dessert again..Thanks, Chef!

Chef John said...

Sorry, but not sure! Did you use the same chocolate?

Roy Giovannelli said...

Hi Chef John, I've tried to melt the chocolate, butter and espresso, is it me but I can't get it smooth like yours. It turns to a thick paste every time! I pull it off the heat as soon as everything melts! No luck at all!
What am I doing wrong?

Yubing Wu said...

Hi Chef John, can I use this no-bake recipe for Chocolate mousse and Mango mousse as well? I do not own an oven =(

McShine said...

I see you're using German Lindt Chocolate there. Good choice, CJ, good choice.

McShine said...

@Roy Giovanelli: Make sure you are doing the double boiling technique, don't melt the chocolate directly on the stove, it won't work nearly as well. Also, try using really good chocolate. I'd recommend German brands, American chocolate isn't very good to be honest. Also, make sure that you're melting it fairly slowly, which shouldn't be a problem if you're double boiling it though. All in all, if you're following the video carefully, it should turn out just fine. Hope that helps!

Wammal P. said...

Hey Chef John,I love cooking and have made many chocolate mousses even for competition but my problem is i also want to make a strawberry one as well and i loved how you made this one super fluffy and amazing :). Is there a way to make a strawberry one with the double boiler method?