February 27, 2010 · 25 comments

Heaven On A Dessert Plate

in Challenges,Desserts,Vegetarian

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.

Tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts, and one that I have to admit regularly disappoints me when eating out. All too often the tiramisu comes soggy, with the biscuits practically disintegrating in front of your eyes, when in fact the savoiardi should literally be ‘kissed’ with the top notch espresso.

Everybody knows by now that Tiramisu means “pick-me-up” in Italian, for the high energy content (eggs and sugar) and the caffeine of the strong espresso coffee, but what do we know about the history of Tiramisu?

Tiramisu is said to have its origins in Treviso (Italy), and there are quite a few stories about how it came to be created.

One story traces the tiramisu as far back as the Renaissance claiming that it was first made in honour of the visit of Grand Duke Cosimo di Medici to Tuscany. Yet another one points to the tiramisu being an adaptation of the “Zuppa Inglese” referring to the sponge cake and cream layered English Trifle.
However, experts in this area generally agree that the tiramisu as we know it today, was born in the ‘70s.
Some believe that the Tiramisu was created in the the Le Beccherie (a restaurant in Treviso). Others suggest that Tiramisu was first made in 1971 by an Italian baker named Carminantonio Iannaccone in a small bakery in Treviso, Italy.

The process of making a tiramisu is quite time consuming but it no component part is particularly difficult to do.

I’ve made a few cheeses (most frequently ricotta) before and creme fraiche, but, mascarpone was new new ground. The process though was incredibly simple and the result was so much better than any mascarpone I have ever bought in the shops – so much lighter and creamier. Another bonus was that it actually worked out cheaper than shop-bought too.

The trickiest bit? Definitely had to be the zabaglione, purely because of the fact that it takes so much whisking. Happen I should have gone for the modern route of using the electric whisk but I decided to give my arms a workout and use a balloon whisk. Somewhere deep in my subconscious mind I suppose I was weighing up the fact that calories burned in the tiramisu preparation might just mean I could eat a slightly bigger piece of the finished dish, guilt free ;)

Would I make another tiramisu using this recipe? Oh yes, definitely – this is most certainly Heaven on a Dessert Plate.

Although before I do I am just going to have to try Tiramisu di Sergia from Tessa Kiros’ Venezia Food & Dreams, which uses sweet vermouth and amaretti biscuits.

Tiramisu

PREPARATION TIME:

Tiramisu is made up of several components which can be made separately and ahead of time and put together the day before serving.
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. So this challenge requires some prior planning.

Please read the instructions as you need to begin making the mascarpone at least a day in advance.
The zabaglione & pastry cream also need 4 hours to an overnight for chilling, as does the main dessert. The flavours mature after an overnight rest, and the dessert can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days.
Once assembled, the tiramisu can be frozen till you need to serve it, in case you are not serving it immediately.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

  • A double boiler (a stainless steel bowl that fits inside a large saucepan/ pot without touching the bottom will do)
  • Two or three large mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • A medium sized heavy bottomed pan
  • Fine meshed strainer (to remove lumps from pastry cream, if any)
  • Electric mixer, hand held
  • Serving dish (or dishes) of choice (8″ by 8″ should be fine)
  • Spatula for folding and spoons as required
  • Plastic wrap/ clingfilm
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper or nonstick liners
  • Pastry bag (can be disposable)
  • Plain 3/4″ pastry bag tip or cut the end of pastry bag to this size (If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off)
  • Oven
  • Cooling rack
  • Thin-bladed spatula for removing ladyfinger biscuits from the baking sheets
  • Instant-read thermometer (optional)
  • Strainer
  • Cheesecloth or cotton napkin for draining mascarpone
  • Fine-mesh strainer for shaking cocoa powder on tiramisu

TIRAMISU

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch 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.

For the pastry cream:
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.

For the whipped cream:
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 and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

MASCARPONE CHEESE

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Method:

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.
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.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Method:

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 Ziploc 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.
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.

N.B Recipe copied directly from the Daring Bakers challenge directions.

Since they invented Tiramisu, I’m in no position to tell the Italians what to do. But if they’re looking for a motto, as far as I’m concerned, they might want to consider: Mascarpone, Espresso, and Chocolate. (David Lebovitz)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred February 27, 2010 at 22:55

This looks gorgeous. What a great tiramisu and I’m impressed you made all the things from scratch.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:05

Thanks Winifred. It was great fun to make.

Reply

John SleepingBear February 28, 2010 at 14:25

Your Tiramisu looks wonderful…isn’t always a joy to make something that we know we already love and take it to a new level?
.-= John SleepingBear´s last blog ..Pasteurized vs Ultra-Pasteurized =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:06

Thanks for the comment John. You’re right it really is a joy.

Reply

Aparna February 28, 2010 at 15:09

Looks absolutely gorgeous. Am glad you liked it so much.
Thanks for baking with us.
.-= Aparna´s last blog ..Heaven On A Dessert Plate ~ Tiramisu: Daring Bakers’ Challenge February, 2010 =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:34

Thank you Aparna for setting such a fabulous challenge :)

Reply

sarah February 28, 2010 at 15:12

This looks great. I enjoyed making tiramisu this month, even though all the parts were quite a lot of work. What are you going to do with your leftover mascarpone? That’s the question currently on my mind!

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:35

Thanks Sarah. I used up all the mascarpone (only made a small batch) but will make more soon, it’s so good.

Reply

Kelly-Jane February 28, 2010 at 15:40

Looks lovely George.
.-= Kelly-Jane´s last blog ..Daring Baker February 2010 =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:35

Thanks Kelly!

Reply

Lucy February 28, 2010 at 16:22

Wow, I now have a severe craving for a big slice of tiramisu! Yours looks absolutely divine, and a true labour of love with the home-made marscapone! Love your step-by-step photos too :)
.-= Lucy´s last blog ..Semifreddo =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:36

Thanks Lucy. I can’t take any credit for the step by step photos though as they came via our lovely DB hosts.

Reply

Lori February 28, 2010 at 16:27

Great job on your tiramisu. It looks really good.

I love the look of your blog. It is very beautiful.
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Daring Bakers: Tiramisu =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 1, 2010 at 08:36

Thank you very much Lori, what a lovely compliment to start the week with :)

Reply

Tina March 3, 2010 at 11:02

What a lovely Tiramisu, very good DB challenge choice too.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 6, 2010 at 16:35

I really enjoyed this challenge Tina. Great fun.

Reply

aforkfulofspaghetti March 4, 2010 at 17:12

Wow. And more wow. That looks like a tiptop tiramisu. And I’m VERY fussy about my tiramisu ;)

Full marks for making the entire thing from scratch, too.
.-= aforkfulofspaghetti´s last blog ..afternoon tea with a difference: éclairs at The Arch =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 6, 2010 at 16:36

Thank you Helen.

Reply

Hayley March 9, 2010 at 08:33

OMG, looks gorgeous!! I love Tiramisu but I don’t think I’d have the patience to make it myself…
.-= Hayley´s last blog ..The Things We Do For Our Kids! =-.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 12, 2010 at 10:02

Ah I’m sure you would Hayley, it’s not that much hard work really as it’s spread over a couple of days.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels March 12, 2010 at 10:02

Lovely to see you back blogging too btw.

Reply

Nita R May 27, 2010 at 04:05

Great stuff! Looks fabulous.

Reply

Grainne June 22, 2010 at 12:58

Looks SO good.

Reply

George@CulinaryTravels June 23, 2010 at 11:27

Thank you!

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: