26. veljače 2010.
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.
The perfect Tiramisu is a balance of flavors of a sweet zabaglione, strong coffee, marsala wine, creamy mascarpone cheese and the dusting of unsweetened cocoa. 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.
This month for the first time I finished the challenge early in the month. It was a refreshing change from the usual last minute struggle to finish, take photos and type up everything on time. And it's the shortest month of the year, too! I was quite pleased and had a huge sense of accomplishment because of that. My sense of pride may seem strange to some of you, but those who know me well know that I normally do everything last minute and, believe it or not, have best results when I'm under pressure. So, this is huge.
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, and D. is not indifferent to it either, so we were very pleased with this challenge. Moreover, I've been meaning to make mascarpone cheese for ages now, but I somehow keep forgetting about it all the time. Homemade ladyfingers were a novelty to me, so that was another thing I was looking forward to try. Although the length of the recipe itself, including the mascarpone, ladyfingers and all of the fillings, looked scary and very complicated, it turned out to be a piece of cake. Everything went surprisingly smooth so I don't really have any particular notes, comments or complaints. I did however have a hard time finding Marsala or Port so I substituted it with a mixture of coffee and dark rum. I personally really love this combination and it was just perfect in this dessert. I also made some slight changes in the vanilla pastry cream and I omitted sugar and vanilla from the whipped cream.
I decided to stick to the original recipe this time because I personally really love the combination and balance of flavors that original tiramisu is famous for. Also, since I knew we would give it away to our dear friends, I decided it's best t not to complicate things with adding new flavors. Less is more. Or that's what they say. It turned out that this tiramisu was a huge success. Everyone loved it and some even asked if they could have the recipe. That says it all I suppose. :)
So, here's the recipe with my modifications.
Mascarpone Cheese – Vera’s Recipe (Baking Obsession) for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese Savoiardi/ Ladyfinger Biscuits – Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home Tiramisu – Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007
makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese
500ml pasteurized whipping cream (between 25% to 36%)
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.
makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small ones
3 eggs, separated
75gms granulated sugar
95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
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.
For the zabaglione
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
50ml strong coffee
10ml dark rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
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, coffee, rum, 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 vanilla pastry cream
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
zest of one lemon, finely grated
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
1 large egg yolk
175ml whole milk
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla seeds 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
250ml chilled heavy cream
1 bag of vanilla flavored sugar (10g)
Put the cream and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
To assemble the tiramisu:
400mll brewed espresso, warmed
3 tablespoons dark rum
100 gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice. Mix together the warm espresso and rum 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.
* Please note that you must 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.