This is a Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake undeniably intended for adult consumption. Not only are the ladyfingers soaked in the amount of coffee you would need to get yourself up and running on a weary winter morning, but also the cream is bombarded with enough alcohol to risk losing your driving license if you dare drive immediately after eating a slice.
But all this booze, coffee and cocoa are in there for a reason. And this is to compensate for all the mediocre tiramisu you have had in your life. I do not know about you, but for me, tiramisu, this crave-able, promising go-to dessert, has somehow failed to impress me every single time. And after tasting enough, both in Italy and beyond, I have come to realise that it is not about a bad recipe or the poor quality of the dessert, even in high-end restaurants. It is a matter of the capability of the classic tiramisu itself to hold enough taste. Want more coffee taste? Try soaking the ladyfingers in too much coffee, and this will be released in the cream, making a mess. Want more booze? Dare to incorporate too much alcohol into the cream, and you will have a sloppy tiramisu, which does not hold its shape.
But with this Ice Cream Cake version of the Tiramisu, you can have it all. Here you can turn the wildest of your Tiramisu fantasies into reality. With each bite, every single element making up this dessert comes out alive and kicking: the coffee, the alcohol, the cocoa and the mascarpone. Best part? It is easy to make and requires no ice cream maker.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake recipe
Use only homemade ladyfingers for this tiramisu ice cream cake. You can use your favourite ladyfingers recipe, or try my personal favourite. Do not use store-bought ladyfingers, because they do not soak the coffee syrup well.
You do not have to worry about eating raw eggs in this recipe. The eggs are fully cooked by pouring the right amount of the boiling cream into the right amount of cold eggs, while whisking vigorously. This way, the total mixture comes to a perfect 79º C (174º F). To achieve this balance, weigh the ingredients precisely with a kitchen scale.
Prepare the Ladyfingers up to one week before.
Start preparing the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake at least two days before the day you want to serve it.
Mixer (preferably hand held, if available)
Cake pan (or mould) of 1.5 litre/quart capacity
For the Mascarpone Filling:
- 350 gr heavy cream, 35% fat (12.3 oz.)
- 110 gr regular white sugar (3.85 oz.) [Divided into 60 gr (2.1 oz.) and 50 gr (1.75 oz)]
- 80 gr egg yolks, cold from the fridge (2.8 oz.)
- 80 gr brandy or cognac (2.8 oz.)
- 50 gr coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (1.75 oz.)
- 1 sheet gelatine
- 250 gr mascarpone (8.8 oz.)
For the Coffee Syrup:
- 200 gr freshly brewed coffee ( equivalent to two coffee portions ) (7 oz.)
- 200 gr regular white sugar (7 oz.)
- 160 gr homemade ladyfingers or your recipe of choice (5.6 oz.)
For the Base:
- 80 gr bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (2.8 oz.)
- 150 gr heavy cream (5.3 oz.)
- 30 gr regular white sugar (1 oz.)
- unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Step 1 – Prepare the Custard for the Mascarpone Filling
Put the cold egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl, whisking them lightly to break them down. Put the bowl in the fridge, keeping the whisk in the bowl.
In a medium saucepan (3 quart/litre) with a long handle, put the heavy cream and the 60 gr sugar (2.1 oz.). Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula, until the sugar dissolves and the cream is hot and steamy.
Increase the heat to high and remove the egg yolks from the fridge.
When the cream comes to a full boil, let it boil for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat, and immediately start pouring it in a steady stream into the egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other.
Immediately scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula. The reason for doing so is that there may be egg residue which needs to be incorporated into the cream while it is still hot.
Step 2 – Cool the Custard for the Mascarpone Filling
To prevent a film from forming on the surface of the custard, stir it often with a spatula while it is hot.
Meanwhile, as it cools, prepare the brandy gel for the mascarpone filling, as described in step 3.
When the custard is no longer hot, pour it through a mesh strainer into a sealable container.
Cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight to cool, or read the instructions below for shortcutting the process.In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:
If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and go to step 5 quickly, you can put the custard in a sealable bag, place it in a large container, fully cover it with ice and let it chill for a few hours ( it may take up to 3 hours to properly cool ).
The downside of this method is that you will need lots of ice. And you will need a thermometer to check if the temperature has reached the desired 4º C ( about 39º F ), which is the temperature it would reach if left in the refrigerator overnight.
Just make sure that before proceeding to step 4, the brandy gel has had time to fully set.
Prepare in advance: up to 3 days before making the Mascarpone Filling (step 5). Store in the refrigerator.
Step 3 – Prepare the Brandy Gel for the Mascarpone Filling
Put the gelatine leaf in a small bowl and cover with fridge-cold water.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, put the 50 gr sugar (1.75 oz.) and the coffee liqueur and warm, stirring with a spoon, until the sugar fully dissolves. Do not let it boil.
Remove from the heat and add the brandy/cognac.
Remove as much water as possible from the gelatine by squeezing it with the palm of your hand and add it in the saucepan.
Stir well, to fully dissolve the gelatine.
Pour everything through a mesh strainer into a sealable container and put the brandy gel in the refrigerator to set.
Prepare in advance: up to one week before making the Mascarpone Filling (step 5). Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Step 4 – Make the Coffee Syrup
When the custard is thoroughly cold, prepare the mould by lightly greasing it with oil. Line it with cling film and adhere the film to the mould, removing any big air pockets.
Pour the hot coffee into a bowl and add the sugar. Stir well, until the sugar fully dissolves.
Step 5 – Prepare the Mascarpone Filling for the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake
Remove the custard from the fridge. It has to be thoroughly cold, or else it will not whip.
Pour the custard into a bowl. With the whisk attachment, start beating at low speed and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until soft peaks form and it is two times its volume. It should hold its shape when lifted with a spoon.
In another bowl, whip the mascarpone at medium speed until softened and pliable. Add 120 gr of the brandy gel (step 3) and begin whipping. With the addition of the gel, clumps will form in the mascarpone; keep on whipping and the mascarpone will become smooth again.
Begin adding the whipped custard into the mascarpone, 2-3 tablespoons at a time, folding it after each addition. If necessary, use the mixer in between folds to help the two creams blend.
Step 6 – Layer the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake
In a food processor, briefly pulse 5-6 ladyfingers. Add the rest of the brandy gel (about 50 gr/1.75 oz.) and pulse to create lumps. These will act as your ice cream cake base.
Layer the lined mould with 4-5 tablespoons of the mascarpone filling, spreading it to the corners of the mould.
Dip a ladyfinger into the coffee syrup for 1 – 2 seconds, shake to remove any excess syrup and spread out on top of the mascarpone layer.
Continue adding ladyfingers soaked in coffee syrup to create a layer.
Any small pools of coffee syrup forming in the mascarpone filling around the ladyfingers, are totally fine and just add to the ultimate tiramisu experience.
Form another layer with 4-5 tablespoons of the mascarpone filling, followed by another layer of coffee syrup-soaked ladyfingers.
Repeat the process one more time, for a total of 6 alternating layers.
Add the remainder of the mascarpone filling and roughly sprinkle the ladyfingers and brandy gel lumps over the surface. Gently tap and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. The lumps will act as a base and keep the tiramisu ice cream cake in place when you turn it out on the serving plate.
Place in the freezer for one hour, until the surface sets. Then cover well with cling film and put in the freezer for one day, to fully set.
Prepare in advance: covered well with cling film and well protected in a sealable bag (or wrapped in aluminium foil), it can keep for up to one month in the freezer.
Step 7 – Unmould the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake
Remove the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake from the freezer and uncover it.
Briefly sink the mould in very hot water for 2-3 seconds, taking care not to let any water slip onto the ice cream cake. (you may use your kitchen sink to do so).
To test if the tiramisu ice cream cake is ready to unmould, gently pull the overhanging sides of the layered cling film. If it’s still stuck in the mould, briefly return to the hot water.
To remove the tiramisu ice cream cake, wipe the mould with a kitchen towel and invert the ice cream cake on a plate. Remove the cling film and put the ice cream cake in the freezer.
Step 8 – Decorate the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake
Whip the heavy cream with the 30 gr sugar (1 oz) until stiff peaks forms.
Decorate the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake with the whipped cream, by piping small mounds on the surface (I used a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 cm round tip).
If you do not have a piping bag, spread the whipped cream over the surface and create waves with the back of a spoon.
Using a small sieve or strainer, generously dust the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake with cocoa powder, aiming for the sides, as well.
Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours for the garnish to fully set.
If not serving within a few hours of making it, first cover well with cling film and then put it in a sealable bag (or wrap well with aluminium foil) when the garnish has set.
Covered well with cling film and protected in a sealable bag, it will keep for up to one month.