Saturday, February 27, 2010

DB: Tiramisu

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.

I made this tiramisu without any liqueur in it! I suppose if they sold alcohol in the supermarkets in Canada I would have bought some, but the liquor store is so out of the way (I'm not a drinker at all, I'm the cheapest drunk you will ever find, I would be sound asleep after 1/2 a drink - really it's true!) The end result was wonderful even without it.

I had a ton of fun making and putting together all the tiramisu components. You could buy the ladyfingers and mascarpone instead of making them if you want to save time. The recipe looks long and daunting but really it's very do-able and can be prepped in advance or in stages.

What impressed me the most was the consistency of the ladyfingers. I used to always buy them but after making them myself I now realize how much money I can save and how much better they taste homemade. I was a little nervous about the delicate batter sticking to the pan but there was nothing to worry about. I baked the ladyfingers on my non-stick baking mat (AKA Silpat knockoff) and it peeled off with no problems whatsoever. I did both piped ladyfinger shaped cookies as well as 8" rounds. I will likely use the extra for another tiramisu this week since the first one was such a hit.

I have never actually tasted mascarpone before so I don't know how this compared to storebought, but comparisons aside, it was delicious. Because of all the extra mascarpone this recipe made, I doubled the cream mixture and used it as a fruit dip. I brought the tiramisu to a get together where it was well received. I was feeling extra chocolatey so I added some grated chocolate between the layers and on top.

6 servings | The Washington Post, July 11 2007

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (I used strong 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
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 (approx.)
cocoa powder for dusting

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.

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

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

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.

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

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,

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.


Jen said...

Your tiramisu looks great! I made mine alcohol free as well, so that my teenager would eat it. (I count on her to eat all my baking, so it gets used up and not wasted). I really liked the homemade mascarpone. It tastes very much like the real thing and less than half the price to make it at home!

Anonymous said...

Good job on the challenge!

Mary said...

It looks absolutely delicious and I'm so glad you liked it. The fruit dip was a good idea--I froze some of the extra as a parfait, but ate most of it from the bowl:) And I had to make 2 batches of ladyfingers because I couldn't stop eating them. Love the photo of all the ladyfingers!

Lisa said...

I love the shot of your ladyfingers soaked in coffee with the cream on the top- beautiful!

Heather said...

Excellent job! Love that you made a delicious dip for fruit as well.

Bread and Jam said...

Great job! And I like the finished product photo by the flowers. Nice. :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely tiramisu. Very nicely done.

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

You did a loyely job on your tiramisu. I'm not a big drinker myself, like you it puts me to sleep. But we were having company and I put Drambuie in it. My husband and our guests just loved this dessert.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Maya said...

Lovely! Beautiful pictures.

Dewi said...

Hi Tia,
thank you so much for visiting my blog, this lead me to yours. I am glad ...

You did your challenge well, your tiramisu look delish!

Dragon said...

Your Tiramisu is lovely. :) Great job on this challenge!

showfoodchef said...

Thanks for visiting my site and now I can discover yours - and how gorgeous your whole design is! Loved your tiramisu; looks creamy and fluffy.

chef_d said...

Mine was alcohol-free too! It's such a hit here at home I will keep doing it. Lovely tiramisu :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

YOu did an amazing job and I'm with you-the savioardi biscuits were a real highlight for me! :D

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

You've done a wonderful job with the Tiramisu. We don't use alcohol either so I made mine without as well.
Thanks for baking with us.

Deeba PAB said...

Glad you had fun Tia...that does look luscious peeping out of the sides of the bowl. Thank you for playing along; we loved hosting the challenge!

MaryMoh said...

Love your tiramisu. Looks delicious!

Jeanne said...

Gorgeous tiramisu! I love the idea of adding extra chocolate! I bet it tasted fabulous!

Finla said...

Looks so creamy delicious, i want them so much now after seeing all the DB, i think we should keep a bit for the day we post DB so we can undulge them while we read other posts :-)

Talia said...

Looks delicious! I totally agree about the ladyfingers, why would I ever want to buy them again -- so tasty and not difficult!

Allison said...

I agree with you that the lady finger recipe is so easy it doesn't make sense to buy them anymore. And I love your pictures of them.

Arti said...

Your tiramisu looks great!! nice recipe..

Cristina @ TeenieCakes said...

Tia: Your tiramisu DB challenge turned out beautiful. I like what you did with the chocolate shavings on top of the tiramisu. It was a fun challenge!

On another note: Thank you so much for all your kind words and stopping by my blog :)

I look forward to following your blog!

Justin said...

i'm impressed. i've never heard of making mascarpone at home... that's commitment

Brigitte Kirady said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Jenny said...

that tiramisu sounds delicious, I am not a drinker either, so no alcohol at home, thanks for sharing, I shall try it soon :)

Baking Addict said...

Your tiramisu looks lovely. Glad you had fun making it, it was definitely a fun challenge!

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