Many years ago when I was living in Rome, I was introduced to Tiramisu for the very first time, and I was hooked! I had to have this recipe, so I asked my friend Simona who introduced it to me if she would share it. Thankfully, she agreed, and I have been making this version for decades. Now, before I go any further, I know exactly what you are thinking as you are looking at the picture. Where is the middle layer of ladyfingers?
Well, at the risk of being disowned from all of my Italian friends and family, I am just going to get this out there. I feel like ladyfingers tend to absorb too much of the espresso, making the consistency kind of mushy, and rendering the taste slightly bitter. Having tried it both ways, I feel very partial to my version. It all comes down to preference, though, so please don’t take offense if you prefer the more traditional tiramisu. If, however, you are remotely curious about my twist on tiramisu, and want to try making it differently than everyone else, I am going to reveal my secret ingredient. Are you ready?
They are called “Leibniz Butter Biscuits.” I used to dip them in my cappuccino for breakfast when I lived in Italy, so perhaps the combination of espresso and these little biscuits remind me of those days. For whatever reason, I am partial to them!
I have been using them for 25 years, and my recipe has been wildly successful. Since I am only part Italian, I feel like I can deviate a bit from the norm. Although, I did learn this recipe from an Authentic Italian, so maybe there are a few other people out there who do it this way as well. While these little butter cookies are flat, and they may not give you the extra layer of fluffiness in the middle that makes the more traditional tiramisu, just hear me out. You could see that as a drawback, or you could focus on the perfect consistency that happens when the espresso is absorbed just enough into the bottom two layers of these buttery biscuits, providing a lovely vehicle for the delicious custard, instead of the espresso taking over entirely through the ladyfingers. I know I am treading on sacred ground here, but in contrast, with these biscuits, the espresso brings out their buttery taste, so you are able to enjoy all of the flavors without the soggy middle. (Again, just my opinion!)
Lastly, in addition to using these biscuits, only the best ingredients should be used for the tiramisu to be a success. I think that even if my fellow Italians have shunned me for questioning the use of the sacred ladyfinger, they would agree you must never use an inferior brand of espresso, which is why I recommend Illy. Don’t cut corners on the espresso part of this recipe. Always use a high quality one. If you use the best ingredients, your tiramisu should be a big hit!
So, for those of you who are interested in taking the road less traveled, I will post my beloved Tiramisu recipe next time!