A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
For February, Daring Bakers' host Deeba of Passionate About Baking & Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen chose Tiramisu as the challenge of the month based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obession.
Et bien sûr, nothing is ever simple with Daring Bakers' (hence the name sake), this time around, we aren't taking the easy road like I did with my first Tiramisu in 2007 where everything was store bought and put together. The challenge is to make our own mascarpone cheese and our sponge fingers/ladyfinger biscuits, pastry cream and zabaglione (a cooked one) and piece it all together to make this pick me up dessert.
So what is this famous Tiramisu? As mentioned in my older post, it means "pick-me-up" (metaphorically, "make me happy") made of mascarpone cheese, sponge fingers or savoiardi & zabaglione.
When I first read what is needed to be done for this challenge, I nearly fainted on the spot. I assure you would too when you read the following list. But fear not, it's not as complicated and difficult as it looks. Once I got started, I got into the swing of things very fast and all jazzed up... all too soon, the fun ended and I felt a bit bereaved that it ended so fast.
Making pastry cream was a breeze since I have made it before for a Blueberry Tart last year. However I was unsure how a zabaglione should look like after it is done so I just relied on my ninja chef instinct.
For this challenge, I have split things into 3 posts for easy reference :
As we are making all of it from scratch, it's easier and less stressful if you make the sponge fingers first and mascarpone cheese, zabaglione & pastry cream another day or vise versa. Then assemble the tiramisu the following day. The mascarpone cheese needs to be refrigerated overnight while the zabaglione & pastry cream need to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours. Are you still with me after reading the long list of things to be done? OK, whenever you are ready, I'm ready. Let's go!
(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007)
For the zabaglione
For the vanilla pastry cream
For the whipped cream
To assemble the tiramisu
For the zabaglione
For the pastry cream
For the whipped cream
To assemble the tiramisu
It's great! Very creamy and sinful but surprisingly it
didn't taste as sweet as I expected it to be. There's not an incredible difference with the one made with your off-the-shelf ingredients, but this one is a bit more subtle and flavourful.
The next time I make Tiramisu, I wouldn't hesitate to make my own sponge fingers (ladyfingers) and mascarpone at home, but assemble it using the simpler version ie. make it with raw egg yolks and whipped egg whites. However if you or one of your guests is pregnant or has aversion about eating raw eggs, I would recommend making tiramisu using above methods with zabaglione and whipped cream.
Update: We defrozed one of the tiramisu totally the other day and found that it indeed tasted a little bit sweeter than usual. I have also just realized that I added all the mascarpone (180 g) I made in my tiramisu instead of the 75 g as required in the recipe. So if you are making this version, please reduce the quantity of sugar indicated in zabaglione and pastry cream or else your tiramisu will turn out to be very sweet.
Placing the bowl (in which cream is to be whipped) and the beaters of the hand held electric mixer in the fridge for about ½ to 1 hour before hand helps to whip up the cream whip very well.
As there were already sugar in pastry cream and zabaglione, I omitted sugar in the coffee as I didn't want the tiramisu to be too sweet.
You can assemble the tiramisu in wine glass, cups or verrines as you wish. Leave it to creativity and imagination. Obviously a transparent container will show it's layered structure better
It means "pick-me-up" (metaphorically, "make me happy") ). It is said that Tiramisu is a recent italian creation and not an old recipe passed from generations to generations as one would have thought. According to an article written in 1981 by a certain Giuseppe Maffioli (1925-1985: a famous member of the Italian Cuisine Academy, also actor and journalist): «Tiramisu' was born recently, just 10 years ago in the town of Treviso. It was proposed for the first time in the restaurant Le Beccherie. The dessert and its name became immediately extremely popular, and this cake and the name where copied by many restaurants first in Treviso then all around Italy».
I have always been fascinated with this dessert ever since I first tasted it in an Italian restaurant. I thought it was a very complicated recipe that only trained chef (the kind that wear a gray mustache and scream orders at their terrified kitchen assistants) could whip up. Boy, was I surprised when I found out how to make it a few years ago: it was REALLY a piece of cake (pun not intended) to prepare... in fact even a kid could do it. It was a success at the very first try, however I relied on my usual guinea pigs, Pierre and my parents-in-law to fine tune it to today's recipe. They are so supportive of my experimental cooking...I'm a very lucky girl indeed.
What can I say ... it's as delicious as ever, with a smooth creamy texture, and not overly sweetened as some other recipes I've seen.
I have tried 2 different methods of making it: the lazy one and the 'make an effort' - both give me the same delicious results. The lazy method: just blend the sugar in with the egg yolk without really whisking it and then add in the mascarpone. The only difference I noticed is that with the whisked creamy egg mixture, I get more volume of the mascarpone mixture.
Spong fingers or lady Finger Biscuits
Be careful when coating it with coffee, some absorb liquid very fast while others takes a longer soaking. Always test it out first to see how fast or slow it absorbs the coffee.
The original Tiramisu use Marsala wine however I use Amaratto instead and others uses rum or brandy or even kahlua liquor. Also some prefer to add the liquor to the egg yolk mixture instead of into the coffee like me.
Using raw eggs
The original Tiramisu' uses raw eggs but there is a risk of salmonella so some people prefer to cook the yolks bain-marie and to substitute whipped cream for the egg whites. Never had any issue over here using quality eggs.