Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tiramisu - Two cookies compete!



Hello,

I recently bought Gourmet Magazine on my last trip to the grocery store. http://www.gourmet.com/
I don't usually buy it because I've got countless cookbooks and I also receive Food Network Magazine in the mail. However, this issue was all about Classic Italian recipes. I flipped through a few pages and saw this Tiramisu recipe.

Fact:
Tiramisu means "Pick-me-up" in Italian.

Tiramisus to live up to…


My Mom's:
I was never really into it. I'd had a bite or two growing up but I wasn't a fan of dessert in general.
My mom makes it every single Christmas. People say its the best they've tasted and now, even I love it.
Her cream is light, fluffy and voluminous. Her secret? She whips egg whites and folds them in.

Da Emma's:
My friend David told me that I HAD TO TRY the tiramisu at DaEmma Restaurant. I was sceptical but he was so right! I never miss a chance to have it when I go and of course, from day one, I've been obsessed with decoding the flavour to figure out what it could be made with. The waiter there said that if he told me , he'd have to kill me. lol I don't care, I'll just keep going there to enjoy it. The mascarpone cream mixture is the best I've tasted.

Now, about the cookies. I heard that the traditional Genovese style tiramisu is made with giant lady fingers (cut in two, lengthwise) as opposed to the more widely used Savoiardi lady fingers. Their consistencies are very different. Giant Lady fingers and soft and cakey while Savoirardi cookies are airy, light and crisp.

This was my first time making a full sized traditional Tiramisu and I could not decide which cookies to use. I actually can't decide anything and I usually regret whatever I choose anyway. Ah , the nature of a Libra. So what did I do? I used both. I figured that I'd turn this into a Tiramisu cookie face-off and have family and friends decide which are best!

Who will win?? Genovese tradition or standard Savoiardi?? We'll be judging on how they absorb the liquid, consistency, taste and how they look.

This recipe intrigued me because it calls for Zabaglione mixed with mascarpone folded with whipped cream. 

Zabaglione: an Italian dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, a sweetwine, usually Marsala wine
Marsala wine: produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily - fortified wine similar to Port
Mascarpone: an Italian triple-cream cheese made from crème fraîche

I was hesitant because I didn't know if the Marsala flavour would be too strong. The smell and look of it reminded me of a tawny port.  I didn't want my Tiramisu to taste like that. 
Well, there was no reason to stress.  It gives off such a wonderful, subtle sweetness - the mixture was worthy of being eaten on its own! I was thrilled with the outcome.

Now finally, the recipe:

Tiramisu

Ingredients

2 cups of freshly brewed espresso (or 2 cups of boiling hot water w/ 3 tbsp of instant espresso powder)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp of sugar - divided
3 tbsp of Tia Maria liqueur
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup of dry Marsala wine
1lb of mascarpone cheese (2+1/2 cups)
1 cup of heavy cream 35% - chilled
36 Savoiardi cookies
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Equipment

13x9x3 inch baking dish

Directions

Stir together freshly prepared espresso, 1tbsp of sugar and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar dissolves; let cool.

Beat egg yolks, Marsala and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld mixer (This made me nervous because I've never used my mixer to beat something over the stove but it was ok. Just make sure that the cord of your mixer stays clear of the flame/heat. Also, make sure your water is not boiling or your egg might cook too quickly and become lumpy). 










Beat until it has tripled in volume (5 to 8 minutes) 






Remove bowl from heat.
Beat in Mascarpone until combined.

In a separate large bowl, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.

Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly. 
Quickly dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture, line the bottom of the baking dish with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows. (trimming edges if necessary) 

Spread half the mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in the dish.
Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top 

Dust lightly with cocoa.

Chill, covered for at least 6 hours.

Let Tiramisu stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Tiramisu can be chilled up to 2 days.

Yolks may not be fully cooked. 

The verdict!!

Everyone loved this recipe. Its a real winner!  I was serving seconds and even thirds. (Ok specifically, it was my father-in-law who had thirds)

My mom, who reigns supreme with her Tiramisu recipe, said that this one was really good & that I should definitely make it again.

Which cookie won? Let me just say that all cookies are winners. "Losing cookie" - sounds so cruel and unjust ...

The cookie which fared best were the Savoiardi. I guess that's why they are more widely used. They absorbed the coffee but still retained their shape and texture. The giant lady fingers seemed to mush down , even with a minimal amount of coffee. You can clearly see that the Savoiardi kept their shape (to the left). 

I just want to say that my fist layer of cookies were dipped a little too long in the coffee mixture. I got the hang of it by my second layer. I also find that I put way too much cocoa on top for my taste. The Zabaglione mixture was better without cocoa.

I hope you try this recipe! Enjoy!






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