Some sources say that mascarpone would be nowhere without tiramisu. Conversely a tiramisu made without mascarpone would be lessened in flavor and texture. According to Italian Food Forever, a tiramisu is by definition “a rich creamy mascarpone layered dessert made with brandy and coffee infused savoiardi cookies and dusted with rich dark chocolate”. You may find different types of liquor used in tiramisu recipes but mascarpone cheese stands alone as the cheese of choice in a true tiramisu.
Although I cannot imagine a tiramisu without mascarpone, according to a Bing search with 989,000 results, tiramisu without mascarpone is entirely acceptable. Recipes for tiramisu without mascarpone are all over the internet with substitutions like cream cheese, ricotta, creme patisserie, instant vanilla pudding and silken tofu. If tempted to substitute remember it is the high fat content (between 60% to 75%) of mascarpone that makes tiramisu such an iconic Italian dessert.
Mascarpone’s claim to fame as a fluffy, spreadable cheese originated in Northern Italy and while it is best known for its presence in tiramisù, its creamy texture and delicate flavor is perfect as a versatile ingredient in everything from entrées to desserts.
This written shot of espresso is paired with a simple tiramisu recipe that showcases mascarpone’s true claim to fame.