Tiramisu


Ah, tiramisu.  Such a rich, flavorful after-dinner treat.  It's not actually one that I sample too frequently -- if I find myself in an italian restaurant I fill up on all the bread and pasta before dessert even gets a chance.  But every now and again I will go for it, and love the creamy texture and bold flavor tiramisu has to offer.  Just the other day I tried my first tiramisu latte, and I couldn't help but notice...chocolate and coffee make a lovely couple, don't they?

I made Cannoli last year, and was quite pleased with my first italian dessert attempt.  One of my coworkers gave me some ladyfingers she had gotten and didn't intend to use, so the stage was set for my first go around with tiramisu.



Before settling into this one, I checked out a few different versions.  The basics were apparent: ladyfingers, eggs, mascarpone, and rum.  The difference was in how the eggs were handled.  One used raw yolks, while the other called for heating  the yolks on low heat to cook them.  For my own peace of mind, I prefer a cooked egg.  While I have picked up on enough to learn that pasteurized and farm fresh eggs (which I was using) are generally safe (thanks Alton Brown), I was intending to serve this to some coworkers and the risk was just wasn't worth it to me.

So there we have it. The mission was on to cook the eggs first, so I separated the eggs, placing the yolks in a double boiler above some simmering water.  This took me 2 attempts--the first time, the burner was too hot and ended up scrambling the eggs.  So for attempt nĂºmero dos I lowered the heat and had the water at a light simmer, stirring the eggs constantly.


I used my stand mixer to whip up the egg whites, adding in some salt and sugar.  Once they were fluffy, but somewhat firm, they were ready to go.


I stirred the mascarpone a bit to make it easy to mix, then stirred it into the egg yolk mixture.


Then, I folded the yolk mixture into the whites and stirred in the rum and vanilla extract.


I brewed some strong coffee and let it cool. I used about twice the amount of coffee I normally do.  While espresso would have been awesome to try in this recipe, I tragically do not own an espresso maker [yet]. I quickly dipped each of the ladyfingers in the coffee, then laid them in a casserole dish.  The ladyfingers soaked up the coffee quickly so a quick dip was all it took.


Then I took half of the pudding mixture and spooned it over the ladyfingers.                      


Then, I grated some dark chocolate over the top.


I repeated the layers again to build up the tiramisu.


After grating more chocolate over the top, I sprinkled on some cinnamon.


Look at that.  The original no-bake dessert.  Letting this bad boy rest was no easy feat. The creamy mascarpone mixture smelled so good while I was stacking everything together, and I am a coffee FIEND. So, I stuck it in the freezer for an hour to cut back on the waiting game.  And it was love at first slice.  The cream portion was an absolute delight. It was a very sweet pudding, and the decadent dark chocolate sealed the deal.  I liked the cinnamon mixed in there as well, though I brought some into work and got feedback that plain chocolate would have been preferred.  A few of my coworkers missed out altogether due to a dislike of coffee (the shock! The horror!), but everyone that partook gave the thumbs up.  Next time: homemade lady fingers.  Gah!

Tiramisu Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups water
8 tablespoons ground coffee
1 package ladyfingers
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 squares 90% cocoa dark chocolate (ab out 0.7 ounce)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons rum
2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions:

Brew coffee, using twice the amount of coffee to make strong.  Set aside to cool. Separate eggs, adding the yolks to a double boiler pan or stainless steel bowl and the whites to a stand mixing bowl.  Heat the double boiler to simmering, making sure the pan or steel bowl isn't touching the water.  Stir constantly, and cook for about 5 minutes until mixture has increased significantly in volume.  Stir in the mascarpone cheese.  In the stand mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt, the mix in sugar.  Fold yolk mixture into the whites and add rum and vanilla.  Quickly dip ladyfingers into coffee, then lay in a glass casserole dish.  Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, then grate chocolate over the top.  Add the remaining ladyfingers and spread the rest of the mascarpone on top.  Grate the remaining chocolate over the top and and sprinkle cinnamon over the top, if desired.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.

adapted from tiramisu and easy tiramisu

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