One of the best parts about my trip to the Amalfi Coast last spring was Sant’Alfonso Agriturismo. This farm stay in the town of Furore was the perfect place to call home for the week and the main reason why I was so well-fed and plump by the time I returned home to San Francisco.
Sant’Alfonso is owned by husband and wife Nicola and Michela and supported by a small staff to maintain not only the farm and its produce but also the eight rooms, restaurant, and kitchen. Everyone I met at the agriturismo were hospitable and welcoming. Most of all, I noticed how hard they all worked. My tour group of 13 had the agriturismo to ourselves but when we first arrived on Easter Sunday, the restaurant was packed with guests for lunch and for the rest of the week it seemed the staff were constantly in the kitchen preparing our breakfasts and dinners.
We enjoyed plates and plates of pastries, eggs and meats, cereals, yogurts, and tea and coffee in the morning and every night of our stay we went to bed stuffed after devouring four-course meals. Yes, we would be physically challenged by the hikes throughout the week but finishing those meals was also a challenge too. From fresh pastas and cheeses to pork and chicken to tomatoes and olive oil, everything was delicious. I can’t say one bad thing about the food, most of which was sourced from the land. And the desserts! The creamy panna cotta and light almond tarts and cakes were perfect but the dessert I remember most from that week was Michela’s tiramisu.
If you’ve never had this dessert before, it’s a traditional Italian dish that translates to “pick me up” or “cheer me up” because coffee-dipped ladyfingers are a main component along with marscapone cheese, eggs, sugar, and cocoa. A few times that week, Michela and Nicola would invite our group into the kitchen before dinner to do a cooking demonstration. One night Michela showed us how she made her tiramisu with our guide Elisabetta by her side to translate. Dessert is beautiful no matter the language and we watched her create a work of art as she blended the chocolate, marscapone cheese, cream, butter, sugar, and eggs to create an individual cup of tiramisu topped with chocolate shavings for each of us dining that night.
And it tasted just as amazing as it looked. Even though I wanted to finish my cup, I couldn’t because it was so rich but in a good way. I kick myself for not getting that exact recipe from Elisabetta but then again maybe it’s for the best. A couple months ago I made tiramisu for the first time to take to my friend’s house for dinner. I found a super easy recipe from Kitchen Nostalgia and it turned out great. I knew I did something right when my Mom said she liked it and asked me to make it for Christmas dinner. And then all of my family wanted the recipe too. Not only is it easy to make but it’s not as heavy and rich as other tiramisu recipes so if you are looking for a light but still delicious dessert this is it. Now whenever I make this recipe I’ll think of Michela and the Amalfi Coast and I hope it makes you want to plan a trip to Italy too!
For this recipe you’ll need:
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup marscapone cheese
2-3 tbs of sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs amaretto or rum
1 cup strong cold coffee
about 7 oz of ladyfingers
cocoa, for dusting
Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla together first. Then add the marscapone and amaretto or rum.
To mix, I think you should use a Kitchen Aid mixer or a hand mixer because you’re going to need to mix until you get a thick, whipped consistency like you see above.
Then once the coffee has cooled, dip the ladyfingers into the coffee and lay them flat and packed tight together into a 6 x 9 square dish. Since this was my first making tiramisu, I oversoaked the ladyfingers which are so soft and absorb the coffee fast! Try and dip them really fast so they are not too drenched.
Once you have a layer of the coffee-dipped ladyfingers, get a knife or spatula and spread a layer of the cream mixture on top. Then repeat with another layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers and the remaining cream. You can easily double this recipe to make four layers like I did when I made this for my family’s Christmas dinner.
Then sprinkle cocoa powder on top, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Enjoy!
Do you have a good tiramisu recipe?