The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
Having heard so much about Tiramisu, you would think I would have had it like ages ago wouldn't you? Thought wrong! The very first time I had it was exactly 3 months ago! While I was amazed at the mind blowing texture and creaminess of the dessert (for not being a dessert lover, I liked it a lot!) but one thing that put me off completely was the liquor! Too much alcohol that my husband made fun of me when at the end of it, it seemed I looked a little drunk! The kidder in the house - everyone! I decided then and there that I would try to recreate this famous Italian dessert at home but without alcohol.
The beginning of the month saw me finalize on a recipe (which looked close enough to the taste I enjoyed) and the next day I bought home some Mascarpone cheese. I needed to go to a different store to get me ladyfingers when just minutes
before leaving, I remembered that I did not check this months Daring Baker's challenge. I was sure I would need to buy something from the store for the challenge and Whoa!! What was the title I see? Tiramisu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was like shocked for few seconds! With goosepimples, I informed Aparna and Deeps what a coincidence it was! And what more - we had to make everything from scratch!!
The best part I liked about making it all on our own was the Mascarpone cheese! I was like - what? Really? Me? I never knew getting pasteurized anything would be so hard to get! All I found was Ultra pasteurized stuff but whole foods saved me! At the end of making the cheese, the most amazing thing was the taste test which I put my better half through. I first gave him a small spoonful of the store bought Mascarpone cheese (remember the one I bought before I knew about the challenge?). Then I went and fed him another spoon of the home made Mascarpone Cheese. His quip, "Hey! What's the idea of feeding me the same thing again and again? I thought you wanted me to do some taste test? What is the other thing?
" - was the best thing I ever heard!!!!! Home made cheese which tastes like the shop bought ones - I mean what could be better than this?:) :)
As for the Tiramisu - we loved it! Me, especially since this did not have the overpowering alcohol taste. This time I was drunk - but on the creamy delicoousness of the Tiramisu and not on Alcohol. Just the way I prefer it :) We were free to interpret it in our way than the traditional square pieces (which I did too). I used a trifle glass and did the layers. Cocoa dust on the top with some yummy dark chocolate covered coffee beans finished my Tiramisu presentation! :) mangiate bene
Making tiramisu from scratch requires about 2 to 3 days (including refrigeration) from when you start making the mascarpone to the time the tiramisu is served.
mascarpone cheese – vera’s recipe (baking obsession) for homemade mascarpone cheese.
savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits – recipe from cordon bleu at home
tiramisu – carminantonio's tiramisu from the washington post, july 11 2007
Prep Time: 2+ days
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 4 people
Yield: makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2" to 3" long) ladyfingers. The Recipe makes 6 servings
I am posting the Methods in the Order I made them.
Method for making Mascarpone (Made them 2 days prior to final assembly)
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl,
then place the bowl into the skillet.
Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles.
Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly.
You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve.
Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time).
Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours. I placed it on a strainer which in turn I positioned on top of a bowl!
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.
Method for making Ladyfingers (Made them 2 days prior to final assembly)
Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer
until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon.
Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed.
It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Zip loc bag) and fill with the batter.
Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes.
The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Inspite of the precaution that I took to reduce the heat of my oven to 330F (since my oven gets v hot v fast), my first batch burned.
I can imagine what would have happened at 350F ;)
But my next batch at 320F for 6 minutes worked just fine. So check on your Oven settings and adjust accordingly.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.
Method for the zabaglione: (Made them 1 day prior to final assembly)
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about aninch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water. In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water.
Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
Method for the pastry cream (Made them 1 day prior to final assembly)
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.
To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble.
(If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
Method for the whipped cream (on the day of final assembly)
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl
. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice. Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold.
Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined.
Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy.
Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap