Google’s Tiramisú

I had lunch in Google’s Dublin Headquarters today. A friend of mine works there and since their staff can regularly invite visitors to share their meals I jumped at the opportunity to visit the place and see for real what for many is just a virtual on-line brand.

We had lunch in one of the 4 canteens and immediately noticed that I was by far the oldest person in the room. Most of the people there were in their late twenties/early thirties and, as their web site say ‘incredibly international’ and ‘on any given day you can hear up to 50 different languages spoken around the office’. By chance the first elevator we took was crammed with people and all were Italians.

Visiting the offices I was struck by how much emphasis is put on making the staff feel valued by offering comfortable working spaces and rooms that are designed by ‘theme’ in a mish-mash of styles that I found a bit overwhelming. It was difficult to know if the desired effect was to make workers feel at home rather than at work.

But back to the lunch. There was plenty of choice and the menu was rather impressive. I skipped the salads but took some olives and headed straight to the hot meals. I helped myself to a bit of everything and everything was nice, even the bread is baked in-house!

The only disappointing thing was the Tiramisú. Don’t get me wrong, as dessert goes it was in itself excellent but since it was labeled as ‘Italian Tiramisú’ it was in fact a far cry from the real stuff. The coffee wasn’t strong enough and they didn’t use the traditional Savoiardi biscuits that so distinguish this dessert.

What was surprising is that the pastry chef had obviously not bothered to research his recipe carefully. He must have gone on-line and googled ‘Tiramisú’ and he must have chosen the first recipe on the page. That recipe must have been uploaded by a foreigner who doesn’t know his biscuits from his sponge and his espresso from his instant coffee!

Someone should tell that chef that you never choose the first entry in a Google page no matter how much in a hurry you are!

Here now is the Tiramisú recipe as my mamma used to make.

Suggestion for a better result: before you start working put on your favorite Italian music.

500 g mascarpone cheese
80 g sugar
4 eggs
250 g savoiardi (finger biscuits)
1 cup of strong coffee (preferably espresso)
1 glass dry Marsala wine
cocoa powder (not sweet)
dark chocolate shavings

Lovingly separate the eggs yolks from the whites. Whisk the yolks with the sugar to make a foamy light mixture. Admire the pale yellow colour.

With a wooden spoon gently mix and cream the mascarpone until it becomes smooth and silky. To this add the yolk and sugar mixture and blend well. Whisk the eggs’ whites until firm as snow adding just a pinch of salt and very delicately add it to the creamy mixture. Don’t rush this part and enjoy the work.

In a separate bowl mix the Marsala wine to the cold coffee. Pause to inhale the aroma.

Dunk the biscuits one by one in this liquid and make sure that they are well soaked but not too soggy as to fall apart. Line a dessert plate with the biscuits and cover with a layer of mascarpone cream. Level of with a palette knife like if you are painting on a canvas.

Continue on with a second layer of biscuits and cover with the cream. Dust all over with cocoa powder and finish off by sprinkling with the chocolate shavings. Put in the fridge for at least six hours.