Trader Joe’s has flirted with Tiramisu a couple of times in the past, but they never had a real Italian version of it until today. Now you can go to Trader Joe’s and just pick some up in the freezer section next to the ice cream. I love real Tiramisu so let’s see how it stacks up against the real thing, which I’ve had more times than I can remember.
Let’s back up a minute and talk about what this is:
Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert known for its rich and indulgent taste. The name “tiramisu” means “pick me up” or “cheer me up” in Italian, reflecting its delightful combination of flavors and textures. This dessert is traditionally made with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers (Savoiardi biscuits), a creamy mixture of mascarpone cheese and eggs, and a dusting of cocoa powder on top. The exact origin of tiramisu is a topic of debate, but it is widely accepted that it originated in the Veneto region of Italy in the 1960s.
The preparation of tiramisu begins with the ladyfingers being dipped in a mixture of coffee and sometimes a splash of liquor, such as rum or Marsala wine. The coffee gives the biscuits a moist texture and a rich, aromatic flavor. These soaked biscuits form the base layer of the dessert. The next layer is a luxurious mascarpone mixture. Mascarpone, a creamy Italian cheese, is combined with egg yolks and sugar to create a rich, velvety cream. In some recipes, whipped egg whites or cream are folded into the mixture to add lightness. The layering of the coffee-soaked biscuits and mascarpone cream is repeated, usually ending with a layer of the cream. The finishing touch is a generous dusting of cocoa powder, which adds a slight bitterness to balance the sweetness of the dessert.
Tiramisu is typically served chilled and is often considered a celebration dessert due to its decadent nature. Each bite offers a harmonious blend of the bold flavors of coffee and cocoa, with the smooth and creamy texture of the mascarpone mixture. This dessert has gained worldwide popularity and has inspired various adaptations, yet the classic Italian tiramisu remains a timeless favorite, cherished for its exquisite taste and elegant simplicity.
Trader Joe’s take on Tiramisu
Trader Joe’s used to offer a frozen Italian Tiramisu Torte which was a round frozen cake that was Tiramisu-like just a bit firmer. More tarte-like. Because Tiramisu can be pretty sloppy because it’s pretty wet. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been in the stores for a couple of years.
There are two “cakes” in the bag. They are in the frozen section. There isn’t really a way to prepare them other than just letting them thaw out. I did it on the counter but they recommend putting it in the fridge for several hours before you eat.
I suggest a stiff metal spatula to cut and lift a chunk out of the bin. The bottom is soaked in coffee and marsala wine.
The big problem with this is that there is cocoa powder everywhere. I’m not sure when they put it on, maybe after they froze the tiramisu because it was all over the inside of the bag and made a big mess when I pulled it out. Also, there only seems to be one layer of ladyfingers and one layer of mascarpone cheese and then the topping. Traditionally it would have two layers of each.
Visually, it’s not as refined as what you see in the bag picture. There are some lumps and cracks on top. The powdered chocolate is spilling on everything. But it looks pretty good.
When I stuck a spoon into it you could see the mascarpone on top of what looked like a very dark sponge which is probably the coffee and marsala soaked ladyfingers. I could smell the chocolate and coffee and marsala all intermingling right away.
It tasted like most tiramisus that I have had in the past, except it seems like Trader Joe’s has gone a little overboard with the dusting of cocoa powder. It was quite bitter.
What was left of the ladyfingers was just wet, like too wet. There wasn’t liquid in the bottom of the tray but I don’t think they are traditionally that wet although reading some other websites, tiramisu is quite wet. I’ll give Trader Joe’s the benefit of the doubt but the ones I’ve had in the past just weren’t this wet. I could taste the coffee and the wine soaked into the ladyfingers and it tasted quite nice.
I would be careful here because there is a lot of coffee and cocoa here and they both contain caffeine. There is a reason they call Tiramisu a “pick me up” dessert.
This is a “limited” or seasonal product, so it will likely be gone in a couple of months so pick some up today if you want to try it!
If you are a Tiramisu freak and you don’t want to make it yourself or go to a restaurant, I would buy a couple of bags of these to have on hand. You don’t need to thaw both of them at once so you can spread them out. They come in a paper tray thing that isn’t very presentable. Unless you can get a nice stiff spatula to get the thing out in one piece, I would eat from the paper tray. But make sure you put it on a plate or something because the one I bought had powdered chocolate on everything made a mess when I pulled it out of the bag and that dark chocolate sticks to everything!
I give Trader Joe’s a 10 for effort but because it’s not quite what you get a restaurant or can make at home, I am going to have to give them 8 out of 10 Bells. Good but not great!
WATER, MASCARPONE CHEESE (CREAM, CITRIC ACID [ACIDIFIER]), EGG, SUGAR, EGG YOLK, WHEAT FLOUR, COFFEE, MARSALA WINE, COCOA POWDER PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, POTATO STARCH, SEA SALT, LEAVENING AGENT (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, WHEAT STARCH).
- CONTAINS MILK, EGG, WHEAT.
- MAY CONTAIN SOY.