Tiramisu 01 (page 267)- how to make espresso

pick me up or pick on me?  my friends have been picking on me for the past 5 years, asking over 2000 questions about espresso.  it is tiring to answer those many questions, yet gratifying and also eye opening.  i become to realize the only way to remember all this information is to buy an extra bialetti espresso maker and pass it along my friends, together with ROSE’S heavenly CAKES:  Tiramisu (page 267).  it is time for my friends to answer their own questions!

how to make espresso is one of the first things i put my attention to when i started baking.  i have also answered to so many people at rose’s blog.  IT IS VERY DIFFERENT than ‘regular’ coffee.  one of the best methods to make espresso at home is using the bialetti stove top percolators, as 99.99% of the homes in italy has done for over a century!

there are many copy cat brands, be sure to get bialetti original brand.  there are many models made by bialetti.  i would start with their classic moka pot, rated 3 cup capacity (3 espresso shot cups).  why not get the 6 cup or anything other than the 3 cup?  because the 3 cups yields better flavor; take this as law from words of people in italy, it has to do with the ratio of pressure vs water and extraction vs time.  these are fairly inexpensive and easy to maintain, most people in italy will own 3 or 4 units, so when there is a party you can run them all at once.  i recommended this method to make espresso for ROSE’S heavenly CAKES:  Tiramisu (page 267).

here is the newly renovated kitchen of my cousin Anna in Italy, see if you can spot at least 2 bialettis, i was told she has 5:

bialetti also makes an excellent cappuccino maker, the mukka express.  i will leave you with this picture i took this morning, you can find plenty information about the mukka express at amazon.com, williamssonoma.com, and youtube.  it is a fun cappuccino maker, in fact, i have one at my office for my 10:30 am fix, and yesterday i just got one at my home for my weekend 10:30 am fix and for more answering questions to my friends!

i tell you, although designed for cappuccino, the mukka express makes EXCELLENT americano coffee, too!

9 thoughts on “Tiramisu 01 (page 267)- how to make espresso

  1. Julie says:

    Hector, thanks so much for the information, I’m thinking of buying a Bialetti and this is all so good to know!

  2. Julie says:


    I hope it is OK to ask for baking help here, if not we can PM over on the forum.

    I just made the RHC tiramisu, it is totally delicious! I had a few questions that I hoped you might be able to help me with.

    This is my third time making them, second time with Wondra. My batter is never soft enough to flow easily out of the bag the way the recipe specifies. I tried to let it flow out, but after an entire minute of waiting, there was only a little bulge from the bag opening, not nearly enough to make a finger with.

    Second, probably related, issue, is that when I sift powdered sugar on them before baking, it doesn’t sink in. The recipe says that it should sink in, and to sift on a second coat to make them pearlized. For mine, the first coat doesn’t sink in, and after baking you can blow it off. It just looks like a cake that has had powdered sugar dusted on after baking.

    Any ideas?

    One last question, have you tried the marscapone filling in a layer cake presentation? I did, and it was too thin to work, but I also goofed on making the eggs. I wondered for next time, if it will be thick enough when made properly or if I should go straight to the P&PB version with gelatin.

    Made my own espresso with Illy and a moka pot, it was sooo good, I could drink the syrup for this all by itself!

    Thanks so much,

    • hi J, this discussion is great, so we can share ideas in public. i have made the ladyfingers with wondra only one time, and haven’t encountered your issue of been too stiff or not absorbing the confectioners sugar. i did it using cake bible’s recipe but replacing wondra by weigh (rhc wasn’t out yet).

      regarding the mascarpone, haven’t tried rhc recipe yet (saving this cake for my sister’s bday in june), it is a thin filling by nature that gets thicker only when refrigerated for several hours. you may consider refrigerating it until frosting consistency. and do take care with the eggs, as the yolk do provide firmness. at the bakery, we use a similar mascarpone filling (sans gelatine) for sheet cakes, and after the sheet are refrigerated overnight, then we can cut them into square cakes, cleanly.

      glad you are making the espresso with illy and the moka pot (did you get the 3 cup one?). it is really the standard. there are many other brands of coffee, but i can assure you illy is the more standardized across the world, the way it is packed the flavor is consistent for up to the expiration date (plus 1 week after opened). i currently use locally grown and roasted coffee, but because these aren’t packed similarly to illy, you really need to buy when freshly roasted (directly from the grower, by mail order). coffee flavor changes dramatically soon after roasted unless specially packed in positive atmosphere nitrogen gas. i have my favorite local coffees listed as links.

      hope this helps a little.

      p.s. for tiramisu, i would prefer to use the imported lady fingers, unless you are making a special shape or molded cake, like a crown, a disc, a la cordon rose. the imported lady fingers are great for tiramisu. biscuit de savoie layers or sheets is also an excellent option.

  3. Julie says:

    Thanks so much, Hector- yes, I have the 3 cup moka pot, well actually it is a four cup, but it leaves some water in the base so it makes three cups (about six ounces) of espresso. I follow Marcella Hazan’s directions in the back of her first book for making espresso.

    I’ll have to figure out what’s going on with my ladyfinger batter, they work well and make a beautiful presentation, but I wonder if I’m missing something, texture-wise, with a batter that doesn’t flow.

    I haven’t seen Italian ladyfingers/savoiardi in my small town in MA, but if I see them next trip to NYC, I’ll know just what to do with them!

    • oh oh, it is the 3 or the 2 cup the ones Italians use. not the 4 neither the horrendously popular in the USA 6 cup!

      yes, and it does leave some water in the base, which is to be discarded.

      i think, it is highly desirable for the ladyfingers to not flow, so i wouldn’t worry much about what you are experiencing. rose state’s that with wondra, it doesn’t flow as much right? perhaps your weather is very very dry, so the italian meringue remains always so stiff.

      happy baking.

  4. Julie says:

    H, I made lady fingers again last week for the Lemon Crown, and I finally figured out my problem. I was continuing to beat after the yolks reached ribbon stage and after the whites reached stiff peaks, which must have dried them out. This time I was careful to check often and not continue to beat after those markers were reached.

    The result was amazing, much more moist and ethereal, and I even got a little of the pearl effect crust. So happy to have that under my belt! I will make them more often now.

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