The Italians can’t agree on who invented this iconic dessert, but at least all non-Italians can agree it hails from The Boot. It is one of those dishes whose list of ingredients invariably begs the question: How can something so simple taste so good? And yet, it truly does. Savoiardi biscuits soaked in alcohol-spiked coffee, layered with cream, and dusted with cocoa somehow become much more than that in our mouths. I’m usually of the mindset, especially when it comes to such iconic dishes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So this is in no way a better version of the classic. Rather, it is a variation of it that uses traditional Arabic cardamom coffee (because that’s what we usually drink at home), adds a bit more texture to the cream with chopped dates, and tops it with bright green crushed pistachios instead of cocoa powder. It’s indeed a pick-me-up dessert—Arabian style—not only for the coffee but for the vividness of the colors and flavors as well.
Note: I most often use a deep 6-cup (1.4-liter) glass dish that measures 9 × 7 inches (23 × 18 cm) and end up with exactly three layers. However, you can use a round 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25 cm) cake pan, individual serving bowls, or a larger square or rectangular dish for a thinner cake. If you plan to remove the cake from the dish it is assembled in to serve, line the dish with plastic wrap (clingfilm), leaving a 3-inch (7.5 cm) overhang on all sides. You can then invert a plate over the tiramisu, flip it and remove the wrap, then invert your serving platter and flip back, pistachio-side up, and serve.