The Pie Notes

A celebration of life with a touch of sweetness

Tag: italian

A Tasty Compromise: Tiramisu + Pie = All-Time Favorite Dessert

Well, my friends, I’ve finally found it.

I’ve found my favorite pie.

I’ve always been a little conflicted between tiramisu (my favorite non-pie dessert) and pies in general.

If it were my last day on earth and I only had one sweet treat to enjoy, before I would have chosen tiramisu over pie (shhhh, don’t tell anyone).

Let’s face it, it has all of my favorite flavors: coffee, a creamy dreamy filling, coffee, chocolate shavings, and, um, COFFEE.

Yes, I like coffee.

A lot.

So if you’ve never tried tiramisu, let me walk you through it.

Bottom layer: ladyfingers, which are like spongy Italian cookies, lightly soaked in strong coffee, arranged on the bottom of a dish.

Middle layer: a filling traditionally made of egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone cheese (an Italian cream cheese that tastes amazing).

Top layer: chocolate shavings or sifted cocoa powder

Of course, there’s variations.

For a dinner party I threw in Auburn last semester, I, of course, made Italian. Honestly, I think it’s the easiest type of meal to fix because it’s usually a one dish dinner with a salad. The best part is it seems like you’ve been slaving away all day long!

Since I was pretty busy that day, I made this Williams Sonoma slow cooker lasagna recipe. It changed my life. Why? Because you don’t have to cook the lasagna noodles on the stove. It’s a beautiful thing. So cheesy and meaty and wonderful!

I made a quick salad to go alongside with cucumbers, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. I don’t know about you, but I am NOT a “food separator.” I absolutely don’t mind if my peas mix in with mashed potatoes, or if my lasagna mixes in with the salad. I was nice and offered salad bowls, but I think my guests agreed with me on this 🙂

And for the grand finale, I made Giada’s tiramisu. I mentioned it was a busy day…that’s why I made it the night before!

It never disappoints.

But still, there was this void. Here I am, being the pie girl, and my favorite dessert is tiramisu. Something is wrong here.

May I introduce to you, dear friends, my absolute favorite dessert/pie/food/anything in the world: TIRAMISU PIE. 

tiramisu pie slice

Isn’t she lovely?

It just makes sense.

Let me walk you through this one:

Crust (because that’s really what tiramisu is missing): Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Collection cookies crushed up, combined with melted butter and sugar, and baked.

Filling: A thick, not-too-sweet mascarpone and cream mixture with a special ingredient that sends it over the top–white chocolate pudding mix.

A layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers…whether you’re addicted to coffee or not so crazy about it, it’s just the right amount for anyone to enjoy. Definitely not overpowering, but it breaks up the sweetness.

Topping: chocolate whipped cream with chocolate shavings sprinkled on top.

Now how could that be anything but perfect?

(It can’t be.)

tiramisu pie whole

And plus, I’d say this is one of the easiest pies to make. It’s perfect in the summer because your oven is only cranked up for a few minutes.

It’s so refreshing, but you still feel like you’re indulging.

I’m absolutely in love with this pie. I’m enjoying browsing through Aimee Broussard’s blog  and cookbook, which is where I found this recipe! I added the ladyfingers because that’s my favorite part of tiramisu, and I can’t leave out the coffee. You certainly could skip that part if you choose.

Make it! You’ll love it!

And if you don’t want to make it, you can order a slice at Copper Kettle Tea Bar this week.



Do you know how I know this is my favorite pie? After I tested this recipe last week, mom and I went to see Love and Friendship, a movie based off of Jane Austen’s novella, Lady Susan. 

Literally the entire time I was thinking about that pie and how badly I wanted another slice. It was quite difficult to keep up with the British accents and complicated relationships when my brain was in utter turmoil.

The movie was enjoyable, but that pie…oh boy.

I’ll stop now.

And leave you with this.

tiramisu pie

A Nibble of “cioccolata”

This afternoon at the university, I attended a guided tasting tour of Italian chocolate by Francine Segan, a noted food historian, public speaker, and author.

She has been featured on Food Network, Today, and in multiple magazines around the world, among many other things!

I don’t know what was more fascinating–the history of the decadent treat we all know and love, or Ms. Segan herself.

Her vibrant personality and extensive knowledge of all things culinary captivated us all. I have to be honest…sometimes my mind drifts during ‘lectures’ even if it is on a topic in which I am interested, but not this time!

I have never heard much in the past on Italian chocolate in particular. I always figured Belgian or Swiss chocolate was supreme. Ms. Segan informed us of the significant footprint that early Italian chocolatiers had on the chocolate we enjoy today (every single day if you’re anything like me!).

They were the first to take the cacao bean from other European countries (who mostly enjoyed it with sugar) and transform it into an ingredient that could be used in savory dishes, and even pair it with other complimentary flavors such as orange and hazelnut.

In fact, Italy has an additional classification of chocolate. The typical white, milk, and dark chocolates are joined with another type–Gianduiotto. 


Its upside-down boat-like shape is made up of a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, and hazelnuts. I knew I liked Italians. We didn’t taste this little beauty, but something tells me it could rival Nutella!

Fortunately, we did taste a variety of authentic Italian chocolates, from white to extra dark to stone ground Sicilian chocolate with a lovely hint of orange. The latter was my favorite–nothing like anything I have ever tasted before. Unlike the others that melted on my tongue rather quickly, this one required a bit of ever-so-slight chewing. The amazing thing was that after, literally, two chews, it instantly melted, coated my mouth, and left behind a few tiny chunks of the chocolate. It reminded me of the reason we add nuts to our desserts, because we want texture, right? Here, the chocolate itself added the texture, all because of the delicate and quite laborious way it was processed. Go Sicily!

And a fun fact: In Hershey’s early days, when they were still trying to figure out how to stabilize milk, they began selling chocolate with slightly rancid milk. Think about the last time you ate a Hershey’s kiss–it had a twinge of sourness, yes? Once they implemented the new way of stabilizing, the customers didn’t like it! So, a tiny bit rancid (but completely safe) milk it was.

Overall, it was a very pleasurable experience. I was delighted to meet Francine Segan and hear about her journey, as well as converse with other food lovers in attendance.

Chocolate really is a wonderful thing. Appreciating good chocolate and savoring its flavors makes quite a difference in your experience of eating it. I am so grateful to have opportunities like this to learn more about ingredients, others, and even myself!

***Update: Last night, I threw in a square of leftover Italian dark chocolate from the event (how it lasted that long I have no earthly idea) into my spaghetti sauce, and I have to say that it was the absolute BEST sauce I have ever made. I usually add a dash of sugar to cut some of the acidity, but I just added the chocolate this time. It offers such a depth of flavor that you can’t get from granulated sugar. Perfection. Please try it.

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