Category Archives: Cookies

Daring bakers: Tiramisu

My first challenge as a daring baker and it was titled “heaven on a plate: tiramisu”.
Tiramisu… one of my favourite desserts of all times! The best tiramisu I ever had was in a little restaurant in Rome called ” the cricket in the oven”.
It was so light and exquisite, I never had any better… And no, this recipe did not cross boundaries and brought me to that perfect tiramisu. I am not even sure the tiramisu that night was so delicious. Sometimes you make memories better then they were.
That night in that little restaurant was perfect in every way. My husband (who was then my boyfriend) and I celebrated our first real trip away from home together, we drank a little to much wine and we talked for hours. After diner we walked the streets of Rome hand in hand and we threw a coin into the trevi fountain. Ah sweet, sweet memories.
And that is what this daring baker challenge brought to me too. Sweet memories of a dessert so ancient and so authentic. Sweet memories of how easy it is to make mascarpone yourself. And sweet memories of seeing eyes glow when biting that lovely savoiardi biscuit for the first time.
I always make classic tiramisu… you know with marsala wine and cacao powder on top. But when I saw all those beautiful and original creations my colleague bakers make, I started to think about something a little different. I decided to go for two small shaped tiramisu versions and serve them together. One I made with chocolate and amaretto, the other I made with orange juice and orange blossom water. A little unexpected (cause who can resist chocolate? I know I can’t) the orange one was a huge success.
I want to thank the wonderful ladies Aparna and Deeba for this great challenge, which once again pushed my boundaries and made me rethink my old ways!

INGREDIENTS MASCARPONE

500 ml whipping pasteurized cream (I used 32% cream.)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

INGREDIENTS SAVOIARDI BISCUITS

3 eggs. Separated
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
95 grams cake flour
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar

INGREDIENTS ZABAGLIONE

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons of sugar
60 ml marsala wine (I used amaretto)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

 

INGREDIENTS VANILLA PASTRY CREAM

55 grams sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
175 ml whole milk

INGREDIENTS WHIPPED CREAM

235 ml chilled heavy cream ( I use 25% cream)
55 grams sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TIRAMISU

1/2 cup of amaretto
1/2 cup of orange blossom water
½ cup orange juice
50 grams dark chocolate

75 grams mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Making the mascarpone (+/- 2 days in advance)

To make the fesh mascarpone you use the au bain marie technique.
Just heat a little bit of water into a sauce pan and bring it just to the boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low, so the water is barely simmering. Now pour the cream into a heat resistant bowl and place the boil into the saucepan.
Now heat the cream, stirring very often to 80 degrees Celsius. I don’t have a cooking thermometer (I know, shame on my!) So I just waited until small bubbles kept trying to push the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Then add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, while stirring very gently, until the cream starts to curdle. The cream will start to get thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise or a thick vanilla pudding!
Now remove the bowl from the sauce pan and let it cool for about 20 minutes:.
In the meanwhile line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl.
After the mixture is cooled, pour the mixture into the lined sieve. Now step away from the cheese! No only joking, it is just very important that you not squeeze the cheese or press it. Time will work its magic on it. So just place the cheese into the refrigerator and leave it there for about 24 hours.
You will get a thick, creamy cheese with a luscious white look. The cheese is now ready to use, but can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Making the savoiardi biscuits (+/- 1 day in advance)

Start with preheating your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and prepare an oven tray with some baking paper that is lightly buttered. Now you are set to go and make the cookies!

Beat the egg whites until you get those stiff peak forms that remind you of snow topped mountains. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the eggs become stiff, glossy and smooth!
In a small bowl beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them carefully into the meringue, using a wooden spoon.  Sift the flour over this mixture and fold very gently until just mixed. It is very important that this happens gently, cause when you overdo it the egg whites will loose their firm and your cookies will end up flat and hard.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into wide strips leaving a little space in between them. (I went a little wrong here. I have some kind of oval cookies. But not to worry… they work just perfect in the end.)
Sprinkle have the confectioners sugar over the cookies and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or start looking wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the cookies their very characteristic crispness.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheers and bake for another 5 minutes or so until they puff up, turn golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula while still hot and let them cool on a rack.
When you store them in an airtight container, you can keep them up to 3 weeks.

Making the zabaglione

Heat water in a double boiler. I did not have a double boiler so I used the au bain marie method like described in making the mascarpone.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the egg yolks, the sugar and the marsala (or amaretto), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl over the pan. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. (If you want it to be a real zabaglione you need to stir it into an 8 form. That’s the only true way! But I found that this is not really a zabaglione. This is more like a custard. One of these days I will post a real zabaglione with some local beer I made a while back.) Let the mixture cool at room temperature and transfer the zabaglione into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or even better over night!

Making the pastry cream

Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. To this you add the egg yolks and half of the milk. Whisk until you get a smooth liquid.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk slowly, a little bit at a time, while stirring constantly. After about 10 minutes the mixture will be thick and free of any lumps an begin to bubble.  Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with some plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight until thoroughly chilled.

Making the whipped cream

Combine the cream, the sugar and the vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

Finally making the tiramisu

CHOCOLATE TIRAMISU

In a large bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will help you later on to fold. Add the prepared and the chilled zabaglione and the pastry cream, blending until just combined. Now Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Melt the chocolate au bain marie and let the melted chocolate cool down a little bit.
I used little forms for my tiramisu so I did not need 12 biscuits per layer. For the chocolate one I did not even need layers. But I think its easier to give you the recipe for a square tiramisu and you can pull of your own presentation.
So work quickly from here. Dip 12 of the cookies into the amaretto for about 1 second. The cookies should be moist and in no way soggy. When you soak them to long, the will break and go all soggy.
Immediately transfer the cookies to the platter and place them side by side in a single row. Break cookies into pieces if necessary to ensure you have a firm base for your dish.
Now mix the melted chocolate into your mascarpone – zabaglione – cream mixture. Gently mix.
Spoon one third of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, then use a rubber spatula or a spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the ledges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 cookies and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture, cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO SERVE IT MY WAY: I used round metal shapes to serve my tiramisu. Dip the cookies into the amaretto and line them up around the base of the metal ring.
Then spoon in the cream mixture in the middle of the ring. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Be careful when you remove the metal ring. I did not cover the top of my tiramisu with cacao powder, cause it is chocolaty enough. But a nice though to it, is to sprinkle it with some grounded white chocolate!


ORANGE TIRAMISU

In a large bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will help you later on to fold. Add the prepared and the chilled zabaglione and the pastry cream, blending until just combined. Now Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

I used little forms for my tiramisu so I did not need 12 biscuits per layer. But I think its easier to give you the recipe for a square tiramisu and you can pull of your own presentation.
So work quickly from here. Place the cookies into your serving bowl and sprinkle them with the orange blossom water. No need to dip them, sprinkling will get them just as moist!
Break cookies into pieces if necessary to ensure you have a firm base for your dish.
Now mix the orange juice into your mascarpone – zabaglione – cream mixture. Be careful with the orange juice. I started adding little bits, so the flavour would be just right. Mix a little bit in, taste and add some more if necessary. Gently mix.
Spoon one third of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, then use a rubber spatula or a spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the ledges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 cookies and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture, cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO SERVE IT MY WAY: I used  square metal shapes to serve my tiramisu. It exactly the same as the big square form, only work on a little scale!

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