I’ve struggled with perfectionism to some degree or another for most of my life. In middle school, my perfectionism became nearly obsessive compulsive: I would trace over the letters on my homework to make sure they were all the same height, and if a line seemed to be slanting up or down, I’d white it out and rewrite it, sometimes even multiple times. Thankfully(?), the sheer amount of work assigned in high school more or less demanded that I let go of that particular obsession, but my perfectionism always seems to find other ways to manifest itself.
Case in point: writing a food blog. There are just so many things to obsess over: the recipes themselves, the food styling, the photography, etc. I’ve been sitting on the recipe for this easy chocolate tiramisu since June because I wanted to take another stab at the styling and then reshoot the photos. I wasn’t happy with how the chocolate pudding discolored the edges of the cream or how the layers kind of smushed together when I cut into it. Several tiramisus later, I realized that I personally am not capable of producing a picture-perfect slice of tiramisu without resorting to weird styling tricks that would render the dessert wholly inedible. The perfectionism monster inside of me pouted a little bit, but you know what? It’s okay, because it’s freaking delicious.
After making a mixed berry tiramisu earlier this year, I had some extra ladyfingers and decided to make a slightly more traditional version. But then I realized that many classic tiramisu recipes involved either a bunch of raw eggs—in addition to being a perfectionist, I’m also quite paranoid about food safety, so that was a firm no—or mixing up a custard while standing over the stove, and ain’t nobody this lady got time for that. Actually, I did have time. I was just too lazy. So instead I whipped up a chocolate pudding mix I found buried in the pantry, and thus a chocolate tiramisu was born! It’s soft and spongy, creamy and chocolatey, and wonderfully simple to make—no heat required!
As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a few weeks off from posting in the last month. I’ve found myself a little low on creative juices lately, and I think it’s better to skip a week every so often than to publish recipes that I’m not terribly excited about. But don’t worry—I’ve got some tasty fall dishes in the works and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you!
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? What are the strangest or most extreme things your perfectionism has driven you to do?
- 1 small (3-4 ounces) package chocolate pudding mix, prepared
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 7-ounce package ladyfingers
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1 tablespoon amaretto
- cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
- Prepare the chocolate pudding mix according to the directions on the package.
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone (or cream cheese), powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Be sure that the mascarpone is softened sufficiently, or you may end up with lumps in the whipped cream mixture. Using the whisk attachment, beat until smooth (you may have to run a spatula around the sides and the whisk once or twice in the beginning) and peaks form.
- If needed, cut the ladyfingers so that they fit into a 9x9 baking pan.
- Place the coffee and amaretto in a shallow dish or bowl. Holding a ladyfinger horizontally, dip one half of it quickly (less than 1 second) into the liquid. Place it, dipped side facing up, in the bottom of the baking pan. Repeat with half of the ladyfingers, until the bottom of the pan is covered (I do 2 rows of 6 ladyfingers).
- Spread up to half of the prepared chocolate pudding over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture over the pudding. Using the method described in step 4, dip the remaining ladyfingers and place them on top of the whipped cream mixture (facing the opposite direction of the first layer of ladyfingers). Top with another layer of chocolate pudding (if you don’t use all of it, that’s okay) and the remaining whipped cream mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 before serving. Optional: dust individual portions with cocoa powder.
- I use Hershey’s special dark chocolate pudding mix, which comes in a package of 3.56 ounces. You can also use a 3.9 ounce package, but you won’t need to use all of it.
This tiramisu looks wonderful! The word “easy” in the title is a plus for me, because I have always been a bit intimidated by tiramisu for some reason. This recipe looks approachable and delicious! And your photos are great! I am a fellow perfectionist, and I have definitely been on a road to moderate it for a long time! (It is a long road. 🙂 ) Food blogging is a good medium for recovering perfectionists because real food can never look just perfect! 🙂
You’ve hit the nail on the head – real food never looks truly perfect! Thank you for your kind words 🙂 And I do hope you’ll give this tiramisu a try! I find Italian cuisine as a whole to be quite daunting, since there seem to be very strong opinions on how to do it *just* right. In my book, though, as long as it’s tasty, pretty much anything goes!
Stephanie | Worth Whisking says
I laughed when I read what you wrote about being a perfectionist! I am also a recovering perfectionist, and I think you just get to a point when you realize it’s not worth the time and effort. I still have bouts from time-to-time (especially when styling blog photos!!), but I don’t suffer from perfectionism nearly as much as when I was younger. Wisdom from age? 🙂
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, but I rarely make it because it is time consuming. I love your easy version! Looks delicious – even if the chocolate discolors the cream! 😉
I’m glad to hear that you can relate! That tipping point is never easy, but it’s an important step in learning to manage perfectionism. Thanks so much for stopping by, Stephanie 🙂
Debbie Spivey says
Be still my beating heart! Love tiramisu!
I hope you get a chance to try this! Thanks for stopping by, Debbie!
Heather @ Sweet Precision says
Oh my gosh, I can totally relate to you Mara! It’s so easy to obsess over getting the perfect picture. I have more than a couple draft posts just sitting around because I’m not happy with the picture. Let me say that I think your tiramisu pictures look gorgeous 🙂
Thanks, Heather! I’m glad to hear that you can relate. It can be so tough to tell when something is good enough…especially since there is that (annoying) quote, “Good enough never is”!
Jenna Owens (@aSavoryFeast) says
Oooh I so wish I had a piece of this right now! It looks amazing. I love how easy it is to make. Anything with mascarpone is a win in my book.
Thanks, Jenna! I’m wishing I had a piece too 😉
This recipe looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Anita! I appreciate you stopping by!
I am not a perfectionist but I do like my posts/pictures to look reasonably good. I think your simple tiramisu looks great and I am sure it is delicious too! Thanks for coming to the party and bringing us a favorite Italian dessert 🙂
Agreed – striving to create high quality posts is certainly not the exclusive domain of perfectionists! Thanks for stopping by and for hosting this week!
Yumm! This looks delicious
Thanks, Sarah! I’m glad this caught your eye 🙂
Ai @Ai made it for you says
Your tiramisu looks delicious! I used to be a hardcore perfectionist. When taking notes in school, I used to use a ruler to make sure the indentations of paragraphs were all equal. I hated it when I ran out of paper in my notebook mid note taking, or if my pen ran out of ink and I had to take notes using a different pen because the thickness of the ink would be different lol. In my high school art class, I was drawing the Chrysler building and I had to use a ruler and a calculator to make sure it was scaled perfectly to size. When I was almost done, I realized I messed up one of my measurements, I had to start from scratch. I’m still a perfectionist in many ways and I drive myself crazy at times but I’ve learned to let go over the years.
Oh wow, I’m both impressed that you used to pull out a ruler for indentations and surprised that my middle school self never thought of doing that! It’s funny how the small things really can drive us crazy. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences 🙂
I’ve completely binned entire photoshoots/recipes just because I hated how the pictures turned out, so can definitely relate to that perfectionism. I don’t think you have anything to worry about with this set though; I could go for a slice of this tiramisu asap! 😉
Thanks so much, Jess! And yup, definitely been there 🙂
Lauren @ Free Your Fork says
These pictures look divine, they totally make me want to grab a fork and dig on into all those sweet layers. Love your description of the whole food blogging process, there’s so much involved behind the scenes – ESPECIALLY in the styling! Perfectionism makes life tricky (but I have a sneaking suspicion it made this recipe fabulous)!
Thanks, Lauren! There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to food blogging – and I’m sure this is true for all sorts of blogs and publications. And yes…food styling is such a fascinating topic!
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
First of all, the pictures are beautiful. Second of all a tiramisu is supposed to be all smooshed together! So you’ve totally nailed it! 🙂 This looks scrumptious.
Thanks so much, Kathy! That’s what I was telling myself – if you’ve got a perfectly pristine slice of tiramisu, there’s something kind of strange going on!
All those creamy imperfections of tiramisu slices only make them the more delicious looking! So, as Kathy wrote above, I do think you’ve nailed it 🙂
I don’t have too much perfectionism–or so I think. Then again, I do hesitate to post recipes when the photos are extra iffy. I guess the food blogging brings it out in all of us 🙂
I’m glad you think so – thank you! And I think you’re right…the prospect of putting content out there on the internet can probably make anyone a bit more critical. And we’re our own worst critics, right?
Thanks! I hope you get a chance to try it!
Jess @ Sweetest Menu says
This looks amazing! My husband loves tiramisu! Pinned!
I’m glad this caught your eye! Let me know how it goes if you try it 🙂
I think trying to be perfect is everything is what gives me too much stress. Isn’t very disappointing when you want to make something very perfectly and you just can’t and you push yourself too hard? I am still learning how to set aside that habit of mine.
And going to this delicious-looking Tiramisu, the chocolate pudding is a very good idea. I just want to dig in right now. 😀
I agree; most of the time when I stress about little details, I’m probably the only one who really cares/notices anyway. And thanks – I’m glad this tiramisu caught your eye!
Oh god this looks like our perfection! Love the chocolate, and your photos are just stunning!
Thanks so much, Petra! I’m glad you stopped by 🙂
GiGi Eats Celebrities says
This batter would have never made it to the oven if I were making this! Ha! I would have eaten it RAWWWW!
I’m glad this caught your eye! Luckily, there’s no oven (or stove!) involved…so you can eat as much as you want during the assembly process and you won’t have to worry about getting sick 🙂