Where does the tiramisù come from?
There are many Italian desserts that are famous around the world, but I am sure that if anyone asks you to name one of them, the most of you will say tiramisù. It is no coincidence that tiramisu’ is the fifth best known Italian word in the world.
It is such a famous dessert that it has a world day dedicated to it (March 21st) and in 2013 it even went into space thanks to its dehydrated version invented by chef Davide Scabin.
Despite this, the history of tiramisù is not an ancient one, but dates back to the mid-twentieth century. In fact, even if the city of Siena claims its creation referring to a “Zuppa del Duca” that was served to Cosimo dei Medici, the origins of tiramisù can be traced back to the 1940s and 1960s, and two contiguous regions of Northern Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto, are disputing the title of its inventor.
The chef Piera Nelli from Friuli created a spoon dessert based on mascarpone and coffee and is mentioned in The Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi (several gastronomes believe that it is one of the first official dessert recipes). On the other hand, Roberto Linguanotto from Veneto, a cook and pastry chef who had worked in Germany and was therefore familiar with Habsburg sweets, created a similar dessert with a cream based on beaten egg yolks and sugar. As for the name, it seems certain that it was invented in Friuli at the restaurant “Il Vetturino“.
The traditional recipe includes a few, simple ingredients: savoiardi biscuits (Italian sponge fingers), eggs, sugar, mascarpone cheese, coffee, cocoa powder. Over the years, many variations have been created: nutella, strawberries, limoncello, pistachio, oreo cookies.
The cinnamon version that Violetta showed you was created by her son Federico.
Growing up in Nonna Bianca’s magic kitchen, between pots and stoves, Federico showed his passion for cooking from an early age. He is now studying to become a chef and, in the meantime, he also works in the kitchen of a restaurant, and is able to experiment with interesting recipes such as this variant of tiramisù.
But nobody can forget when he was very young and tried to express his creativity by preparing desserts or other dishes with what he found in the pantry. With Bianca and Violetta’s guidance, using chocolate and fruit, biscuit crumble, whipped cream and yogurt, he generally managed to make something nice and edible.
However, we all remember one evening in particular. After dinner and evidently still hungry or otherwise eager for something sweet, he decided to prepare a dessert even though Violetta had warned him that there was nothing useful in the pantry and there was no time to cook anything.
After fifteen minutes in which cupboard doors could be heard slammed together with puffs of impatience and disappointment, the budding chef returned to the room where the rest of the family was watching TV, carrying a large tray into which he had poured a layer of chocolate cereal covered with milk.
So that evening, in order not to hurt the sensitivity of the chef, Violetta and Maurizio had breakfast after dinner.
Luckily, the small failures did not undermine Federico’s passion, so today we can all enjoy this delicious cinnamon tiramisù.