Saturday, July 5, 2008

Missing the Tiramisu

I know that in some circles tiramisu is out of fashion. And I know that my regular readers expect something a bit more challenging in my desserts. But there is something to be said for the classics. I also recently learned that our readers want here is a traditional tiramisu, gussied up for individual summertime serving!

Let's start with the ingredients:
  • 16-20 Lady fingers
  • 500 g Mascarapone, room temp (I use Igor because its much higher quality than Belgioso)
  • 1/2 C. Brandy, split (If you won't drink it, don't cook with it)
  • 4 Eggs, Separated and at room temp
  • 10-12 oz. Espresso (Cafe Bustelo is the closest thing I've found to Italian espresso - on the recommendation of John, our crack employee at the store), cooled to room temp
  • 4 T. Sugar (for egg whites) & 2 T. Sugar (for espresso)
  • Cocoa for dusting
  • Cacao Nibs for decorating

This whole process takes less than 10 minutes if you have all of your ingredients ready to go. Start by whisking the sugar in with the yolks. Next, cut in the mascarapone. And finally half of the brandy.
You'll end up with this:

Now you'll learn one of my deep, dark secrets...In search for a food safe tiramisu (non-raw egg), I essentially made an Italian meringue and incorporated it into the tiramisu. What I ended up with may not please the food police (I make no claims to the safety of this recipe), but it really improved the texture of the tiramisu. So here we go:

Start by whipping your whites until peaks begin to form. Then take your sugar and add it to 2 T. of water in a small saucepan on a medium flame. If you understand the term "softball," take the sugar to softball. If you don't, just boil until your bubbles seem to thicken a bit. Pour the boiling sugar into your whites and continue to whip. They will get thick and glossy.

Next, fold the whites into the cheese mixture. Don't worry about being too delicate here, simply fold, fold, fold until full incorporated.

Okay, set up your mis en place:

Since I make mine in individual cups, you'll see that I've trimmed the lady fingers to fit. Depending on what you put your tiramisu in, you may or may not want to trim. Whisk your 2 T. Sugar into the espresso, and add the remaining brandy. Feel free to play around with other liquors - Amoretto, Kahlúa, etc. Dip the lady fingers into the espresso and immediately pull them out. Those little suckers will suck a lot of coffee very, very quickly and you don't want a soggy mess, so dip and pull, don't think! Line your cup however will look best in your serving container. Then a dollop of the cheese mixture goes into/onto your lady fingers.

I'll then add another piece of soaked lady finger (my trimmings), dust with cocoa and more cheese mixture.

And last, but not least, a few crushed cacao nibs on top. Chocolate covered coffee beans would be very nice as well, or if you're a cheap, lazy, bum, a dusting of cocoa still does the job :P
Let sit up over night in the fridge and enjoy on your porch with a glass of Rustico Prosecco or a fresh espresso. I think you'll find the texture on this version to be very nice, not dense, and very enjoyable on a hot summer night. Let me know what you think.


Manggy said...

Thanks for the recipe, Rob :) I haven't yet decided if I prefer the whipped cream or meringue version-- I want to replicate my favorite one from an Italian restaurant here, but they probably won't want to tell me what they use. The latter is more economical, though (4 egg yolks, 4 egg whites for free, versus $2 for 200mL of cream). But I did buy the cream already, so we'll see. (The mascarpone was about $7 for 250g, the bastards.)

Which leaves me using whatever we have here as the liquor-- let's see, light rum, remy martin, johnny walker-- I'm off to a weird start. I don't think I've ever seen Marsala in these parts.

Gfron1 said...

Those prices are steep. We sell Igor at the store and its about half that much. I definitely prefer the lighter meringue based version since it doesn't negatively affect taste. I think the keys to a good tiramisu are good espresso and good booze - the espresso being the single most important factor. My first attempt for the store I tried the instant espresso and it just wasn't even close to the taste I wanted. (BTW, while you were posting your reply, I was stealing your code from your blog - I like your design. You'll see I've made my ingredient list prettier than when you first saw it.)