Tiramisu and its dirty secrets

Who knew that the key for paradise were a few ingredients and a brothel? Very random, isn’t it?

Savoiardi, mascarpone, eggs, coffee: this is what comes to mind when thinking about Tiramisu.

What the majority of non-italian speakers dont know, is that its name literally translates as “pick me up”. It is a curious name for an innocent dessert, uh? Well, as it turns out, Tiramisu is not very innocent (allegedly).

Today we are in Northern Italy, where 4 different regions are still disputing to determine where Tiramisu was originally invented: Toscana, Piemonte, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.


According to this theory, Tiramisu was invented in the 17th Century in Siena, to celebrate the visit of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’Medici. For this special occasion, they invented “La zuppa del Duca (Duke’s soup). Coffee had been introduced in Italy around that time, so it is possible that a coffee based dessert was made to honour the Grand Duke, however it is unlikely that it was Tiramisu: savoiardi were originally invented in the Savoia region, and they were not commonly used in Toscana. Additionally, mascarpone is a cheese from Lombardia, and again it wasn’t used very much in Toscana at that time, especially because it is a very delicate cheese that it would be impossible to ship from Lombardia to Toscana at that time.


Some people believe that Tiramisu was invented to honour Camillo Benso, the Count of Cavour to energise him during the estenuating job to unify Italy. This story is not very credible for the reasons above, and also because the use of raw eggs (essential ingredient for tiramisu) was almost impossible at that time due to the risk of contracting salmonella.


It is commonly believed that Tiramisu has aphoradisiac effects, and for this reason it was served in to the personnel and the clients of Treviso brothels to “keep the money flowing”. In particular, it is believed it was originally served in the 1930s in the “Cae de Oro”, a brothel particularly famous in Treviso. According to this story, the brothels had proper contracts with nearby farmers, to make sure fresh eggs were delivered every day. At that time, what was served to the clients was called sbatudin, a mixture of egg yolks and sugar served not only to energise the clients and the employees, but also to invigorate the men that were heading home, to avoid any issues with the wives that were waiting for them and would have noticed they were “tired”. When the government shut down the brothels and made them illegal, sbatudin started appearing in restaurants, the most famous of which is “Alle Beccherie”, where the chef “updated” the recipe adding mascarpone cheese. In the 1950s, 3 different restaurants started serving a dessert containing the ingredients of Tiramisu as we know it, but none of them was called Tiramisu.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

It is Friuli-Venezia Giulia that can pride themselves with the invention of the most loved Italian dessert: “Il vettorino” restaurant used to serve, in the 1940s, “La coppa Vettorino” – a sponge soaked in Marsala wine, covered with chocola” hotel in te mousse, zabaione and cream. The restaurant changed the name of Coppa Vettorino in ‘Coppa Vetturino Tirime su’ and then 10 years later, it was just called ‘Tirime su’. Around the same time, the “Rome” hotel, owned by Norma Pielli, started serving their own version of Dolce Torino, a layered dessert originally made of savoiardi soaked in alchermes, butter, egg yolk, milk, sugar and dark chocolate. The dessert served in Norma’s hotel was quite similar, but mascarpone replaced the butter and coffee replaced the alchermes liqueur. This is what historians believe was the first tiramisu ever made, and in 2017, Tiramisu was entered by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies on the list of traditional Friulian and Giulian agri-food products in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

Traditional recipe

Here is the original recipe for Tiramisu, in Italy we still use raw eggs and every time I mention this abroad, I get very funny looks from people. Sorry guys, it is tradition!


-Savoiardi, 300g

-cold espresso coffee with sugar as you like, 300 ml

-Mascarpone, 500g

-eggs, 4

-sugar, 100g

-cocoa powder


  1. Separate the egg yolk from the white
  2. Take half of the sugar, mix it with the egg yolk and whisk it until you get a super foamy cream
  3. Add the mascarpone
  4. Take the remaining sugar and mix it wil the egg white.

5. Whisk until you get a firm mixture, and add it gradually to the mascarpone cream, folding everything together using a spatula

6. Put the coffee&sugar in a bowl, and dunk the savoiardi for 3 seconds for each side

7. Start making your first layer of savoiardi: dunk a biscouit and put it in a tray

8. Once the first layer is completed, cover it with a layer of cream

9. Add another layer of soaked savoiardi and add another layer of cream

10. Dust with cocoa powder and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours

Did you know all these stories about Tiramisu? Do you have your own recipe? Let me know!

When life gives you lemons

New Year’s Eve 2019, 23:59. Ready to celebrate the new year with a glass of prosecco and a resolution list longer than usual (this is what happens when you carry the same goals since 2014), I promised myself this would have been my year. AHAHAHA. Well so far it didn’t quite go as expected.

But what do they say? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I am not a massive fan of lemonade, so let’s step up our game with something more tasty and satifsying: sorbello!

I am not sure sorbello is an actual word, with this name I mean a mixture of sorbetto and limoncello that I came up with during the last few weeks, when my favourite gelateria was shut down – If it hasn’t been trademarked yet, I call dibs on the name.

Sorbetto is a frozen dessert usually made of water, sugar and fruit. The main difference between sorbetto and gelato is the water component, replaced by milk or cream in the gelato.

It is not clear when the sorbetto was originally created: there is reason to believe it dates back to the Arab occupation of Sicily, during this time the Arabs introduced their sherbet – an iced drink made with fruit juice flavored with rose water. Using the snow from the Etna, the Italians created their own version of the frozen dessert. The modern version of sorbetto that we all know has been introduced only in the 17th century , and since then it has become a summer classic or a fantastic in between courses at weddings and dinner parties.

Ingreditents for 3 people:

-lemon juice, 100ml

-lemon peel, 2 lemons

-water, 250ml

-sugar, 200g

-limoncello, 3 tablespoons


1.Put the water in a pan, and add the sugar and the lemon peel

2. turn the heat on and bring to boil for 3 minutes or until it gets a “syrup-y” consistency (not too thick, it will thicken more once cooled). Leave it to cool

3. Remove the lemon peel

4. Add the lemon juice and limoncello, and mix everything together

5. Put the mixture in a freezer box, and leave in the freezer 1 hour

6. Remove from the freezer and mix everything with a fork, and put it back in the freezer

7. Repeat every hour for 5 hours or until completely frozen

Apple cake

Apple cake is one of my favourite desserts, so easy and so full of flavours! It is perfect with some cream, gelato or just a cup of tea!


  • Flour, 250g
  • Apples, 4
  • Sugar, 200g
  • Milk, 200ml
  • Lemon, 1
  • Fast action yeast, 1 sachet
  • Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs, 2


  1. Grate the lemon to get the zest
  2. Cut the lemon and squeeze it
  3. Peel the apples and cut them in little squares
  4. Put the squares in a bowl and add the lemon juice
  5. In a separate bowl, put the flour and yeast
  6. Add eggs and milk and mix
  7. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon zest and mix
  8. Rinse the apples and add them in the mixture
  9. Preheat the oven at 160° fan assisted
  10. Grease a tray with some butter and add the mixture
  11. Leave it to cook for 40 minutes or until cooked

Orange cinnamon rolls with white chocolate icing

This is not the usual cinnamon rolls recipe, it has a lovely orange kick that gives even more flavour! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Ingredients for the dough:

  • Flour, 500g
  • One sachet of fast action yeast
  • Orange zest, 1
  • Orange juice, 5 tablespoons
  • Egg, 1
  • Butter 75 mg plus some for the tray
  • 75 g of sugar
  • 175ml of milk

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 30mg butter
  • 30mg icing brown sugar
  • Orange juice, 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon, 1 tablespoon

Ingredients for the icing:

  • White chocolate, 200g
  • Icing sugar, 150g
  • Butter, 200g
  • Orange juice, 3 tablespoons


  1. Use the ingredients for the dough and mix together the flour, sugar and yeast
  2. Add the egg and stir
  3. Add the milk and stir
  4. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture
  5. Put some butter in a bowl, add the mixture and leave it to rise for one hour or until double in size
  6. Using a roll, flat the dough until it is 1.5 cm
  7. Cut the butter is little squares and spread them on the dough
  8. Spread the cinnamon
  9. Mix the sugar and the orange juice and spread it on the dough
  10. Roll the dough
  11. Cut the roll in slices of about 2cm
  12. Grease a tray with some butter
  13. Put the slices in the tray and let them rise until double in size
  14. Put the tray in the oven at 160° for 20 minutes or until golden
  15. Let it cool and prepare the icing: melt the white chocolate and the butter, mix them with the orange juice and the sugar
  16. Spread the icing on the rolls


Ciambellone Nutella e mascarpone

Do you love Nutella? Do you love mascarpone? Great! Because they are meant to be together and this recipe will be your favourite thing ever! 🙂


  • Eggs, 3
  • Flour, 250g
  • Milk, half a glass
  • Mascarpone, 250g
  • Sugar, 200g
  • Vanilla paste, 1 tablespoon
  • Nutella, one glass
  • Yeast, one bag
  • Butter for the tray


  1. Preheat the oven, 160° fan assisted – please do this at the beginning of your steps!
  2. Mix the flour, sugar and eggs
  3. Add the warm milk and the yeast
  4. Add the mascarpone
  5. Add the vanilla paste
  6. When the mixture is very creamy put the butter in the tray, spread it even so that the cake won’t stick
  7. Add 2/3 of the mixture in the tray
  8. Add tablespoons of nutella on the tray, it should “drown” when it cooks but I always give it a little push
  9. Try to just add tablespoons, do not spread it as a layer
  10. Add the remaining mixture to cover
  11. Cook for 30 minutes


Dessert hummus

Did you know that hummus can be a delicious, indulgent, creamy dessert? Me neither until a couple of weeks ago, when I read about it in a magazine. I honestly wasn’t too impressed, but then I started researching in several blogs and I decided to try making it. The first results weren’t great, but practice makes perfect and here I am, sharing with you the recipe I ended up loving!


  • Chickpeas, 240 g to be boiled and cooked
  • Granulated white sugar, 100 g
  • Cocoa powder, 80g
  • Coconut cream, 250 ml
  • Coconut oil, 50 g
  • Vanilla paste, 1 teaspoon
  • Nuts to decorate


  1. Cook the chickpeas
  2. Melt the coconut oil
  3. Blend the oil and the chickpeas
  4. Add the cocoa very slowly using a sieve
  5. Add part of the coconut cream
  6. Add the sugar
  7. Add part of the coconut cream
  8. Add the vanilla paste
  9. Add the remaining cream and if you want it more creamy, add more coconut cream