Ready for a break from all things apple and pumpkin? Joanna Gaines has your back with another excellent Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dessert option. The entire coffee-flavored treat can be assembled up to a day ahead, and Gaines swears, "Y'all that is GOOD. It is a pick. me. up."
Gaines' twist on the traditional Italian dessert originally ran in her cookbook Magnolia Table (buy it: $16.59, Amazon). Then the mom/entrepreneur/author/designer walked us through the tiramisu recipe on the Homemade Comfort Food episode of Magnolia Table, which is available to stream now on Discovery. That's immediately where I headed after seeing fan reviews on the recent Instagram post like, "Made it twice in one week. Everyone LOVED it! ❤️" I knew that I, too, needed to make this sweet treat ASAP—at least once!
To make it, start by whipping up the custard. In a saucepan over medium heat, add whole milk and egg yolks (whites removed). "I just want the egg yolks because that's the fattiest part, and that will help thicken the custard," Gaines says. Whisking constantly to avoid scrambling your eggs, add sugar and whisk until the custard reaches "an almost pudding-like consistency." (BTW, Joanna Gaines says every kitchen needs these 3 types of whisks.)
"I kind of think tiramisu is like the Italian version of banana pudding," Gaines tells her cooking show team as she whisks away for a few minutes. "That's what I tell my kids because they love banana pudding. It's kind of a nice, fluffy dessert that doesn't feel like a heavy chocolate cake. You can have a bigger portion of it because it's just, like, air, and coffee and rum." (You can omit that last ingredient if you're sharing with those under 21, of course!)
Transfer this custard to a bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly on top of the top of the egg yolk mixture so it doesn't form a skin as the custard chills. Place this bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then proceed to the whipped cream!
"One of the tricks to making homemade whipped cream is letting your bowl sit in the fridge. It makes the whole process a little faster when everything is cool," Gaines says, as she carries heavy whipping cream and the metal bowl for her KitchenAid Stand Mixer (buy it: $429.99, Target) back to her island. (We suggest tucking the mixer whisk inside the bowl so it can chill out, too.) To the chilled bowl, add heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla and some sugar. Use the whisk attachment to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. This should take just 30 seconds or so if your bowl and whisk are chilled.
Transfer this to the fridge as well, and while you're there, remove your mascarpone cheese and place it on the counter to come to room temperature. This will make it easier to incorporate into the custard later on. (If you're dreaming of spring and seeing a recipe that uses the whole egg, try Gaines' go-to Lemon Bars. We can't stop baking them!)
Next up: The ladyfingers. These are essentially mini Italian sponge cakes that sort of resemble fingers, hence the name, Gaines explains. In the bottom of a 9- x 11-inch pan (buy it: $13.99, Target), lay ladyfingers to cover the base in any which way you desire. "It's like a game of Tetris!" Gaines says.
"A fun fact about tiramisu is that it literally translates to 'pick me up,' which is where this comes into play," Gaines says, as she holds a jar of instant coffee. "You've got coffee and a little bit of rum. When I'm making the tiramisu for the kids, I usually just cut the rum portion out. But today I'm making this tiramisu for you," so she opts to add 2 tablespoons, which is equivalent to 1 ounce (or half of a shot).
Related: Our Best Healthy Coffee Desserts
In a bowl of piping hot water, add instant coffee and rum. Stir until the coffee powder is completely dissolved.
Grab the custard base from the fridge, then fold in your room temp mascarpone cheese until smooth.
To assemble, use a pastry brush (buy it: $12.95, Williams Sonoma) to generously coat the ladyfingers with the boozy coffee blend. Then employ a spatula to smooth on half of the custard mix, then half of the whipped cream. Stack on another layer of ladyfingers and repeat this entire process once more. Dust the top with cocoa powder, then allow the tiramisu to chill for 6 hours or up to overnight.