After my failed attempt at beignets, I dubbed this week the week of “international” desserts. I have to admit I am not normally very adventurous in the kitchen. But, I knew I needed to make something super impressive to make up for my doughy disaster of yesterday.
I chose tiramisu, one of the most popular Italian cakes. Choosing an Italian dessert seemed like a safe bet because many of my favorite things are Italian: pizza, spaghetti, Robert DeNiro, the Super Mario Brothers….what could go wrong?
Thankfully, nothing did go wrong. The dessert was beautiful and tasted great. This was my first time eating and making tiramisu and although it was not my favorite, it was very good and my husband loved it.
For those of you not familiar with this cake from Italy, it consists of coffee liquor soaked ladyfingers layered with a cheesecakey filling and cocoa powder. It was a little time consuming to make, but required no culinary mastery. This is definitely an impressive dessert a beginner could put together.
The recipe I used came from putting parts of a few different recipes together. Most tiramisu calls for mascarpone cheese (mascawhat?) but since some supermarkets don’t carry it, I found a recipe to make your own. I am also not a huge fan of liquor flavored foods (just liquor flavored liquor) so I substituted really strong coffee.
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese (make your own: beat together 8 oz pkg cream cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream and 2 TBS heavy cream)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 (3 oz) packages ladyfingers
1/2 cup strong coffee (mix 2 TBS instant coffee into 1/2 cup water)
2 TBS cocoa powder for dusting
NOTE: Lady fingers are little sponge cakes that resemble small unfilled Twinkies. They are normally found in the bakery section of the supermarket. If you cannot find them, here is a link to make your own.
Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. (If you do not have a double boiler, place a glass or metal bowl over a pan of boiling water). Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
Add marscapone (or the stuff you made yourself) to whipped yolks. Beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold into yolk mixture and set aside.
Split the lady fingers in half and line the bottom and sides of a large glass bowl or spring form pan. Lightly brush with coffee. Spoon half of the filling over the lady fingers. Dust with cocoa powder. Repeat ladyfingers, coffee, filling and cocoa. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Ahhh…the sweet, sweet smell of redemption….sorry beignets, you haven’t gotten the best of me yet.