As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m attempting to get my baking legs underneath me. For Christmas, I am making a tiramisu and a creme brulee which I have never attempted but have thoroughly enjoyed on many occasions. Before I subjected poor family members to a shot in the dark, I figured a test run would be best. Today? Tiramisu!
I expected this to be very complicated because it’s a decadent dessert. But it really wasn’t. I found a great recipe at http://www.askchefdennis.com which means I can’t republish it here for you but you’re welcome to go hunt it down for yourself. Believe me, it will be worth it. One modification I made (because I’m me) is that I added a full shot of triple sec and a tablespoon of vanilla to the whipping cream before whipping it. But more on that later. Here is the breakdown with some pictures.
My first order of business was finding ladyfingers. I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to make them and I didn’t want the ones from a bakery or freezer. Why? Because unless it’s someplace respectable (and you can’t find that here in East Texas), it’s likely to be a half step from a hot dog bun. But there are ladyfinger cookies that are a bit like biscotti. I snagged them at my local Albertson’s in the cookie aisle. These worked perfectly.
The rest was easy: sugar, eggs, cream, mascarpone, espresso, Kahlua. The tricky part is combining the sugar and eggs over a double boiler, which I don’t have. So I usually use a pyrex bowl over a pan of shallow simmering water. You just have to be sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. So I separated the egg yolks out. I learned don’t pull the chicken umbilical cord in an effort to get rid of all the whites. It made a mess!
Then I combined the yolks with the sugar while the water started to boil. The color is my reward for using fresh eggs!
Then place the bowl over the pan and stir constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, for 10 minutes. Why? Because these are raw eggs, silly! If you put raw eggs over heat, even with sugar, you will end up with sweet scrambled eggs. We’re looking for dessert, not breakfast so stir, stir, stir.
After 10 minutes, remove it from the heat but keep stirring. It will thicken and brighten a bit.
Stir in softened mascarpone. This caused my base to thin a bit. It will look more like a batter.
In the meantime whip up the whipped cream (with vanilla and triple sec in my case) until it has stiff peaks. Carefully fold it into the batter. If you don’t know how to fold properly, there are a lot of videos on YouTube but I like the old-fashioned sketch diagrams in my Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. From this point, you could chill it for four hours to set and use it for just about anything. It tastes out of this world. But for our purposes, on to the tiramisu!
Assemble the goodies because it’s time to build!
So I made an error here that I will remedy at Christmas. I dipped the cookies into the coffee/Kahlua mixture. This made them too saturated and you could see the extra at the bottom of the pan when you cut into it. I recommend pouring it onto a plate and rolling the cookies. Then place the cookies at the bottom of the pan (I also used too small of a pan, another remedy at Christmas….see? This is why we do dry runs). Since said pan was too small, the cookies are laying the wrong way – you want them wide, not long so it will cut correctly.
Cover with half the cream and then repeat.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and then dust with unsweetened cocoa.
I became too impatient and cut into it an hour early and it needed to be set a bit further. But holy moly, it tasted just like tiramisu with a subtle hint of orange which is perfect for Christmas. It really was pretty easy. If you’re looking to impress with something that looks and tastes much fancier than its assembly, this is the dessert for you! Give it a try, I believe in you!!
Happy reading, joyful cooking and spread the love!