Wednesday, January 04, 2006
What do you get when you mix black and white? As seen above, you might come up with something that tastes phenomenal. Yep, that's bailey's with espresso. And I'm sure you'll know what happens next:
Soaking spongefingers in liquer and coffee is a must for any tiramisu. The alchoholic ones that is. I love tiramisu. In fact, I adore it. I can't remember when exactly did my infatuation with this Italian headturner come about. But I do know that I like a good Tiramisu and I was bent on learning how to make one. I've heard it was time consuming so I put off making it, until NYE. I wanted to make something that'll blow people away at the party. So I decided on my favourite Italian dessert and headed off to get some spongefingers:
There are many ways to make Tiramisu but this time, I followed a recipe found in one of my William-Sonoma Italian cookbook (given to me by good 'ol Mike, thanks mate!). Some people use spongecake but this recipe called for sponge fingers, a.k.a. lady fingers, or as the Italians call it: Savoiardi. You can find this in Carrefour. They look like this:
Oh by the way, the recipe calls for heavy cream, and I tried looking for that in Carrefour but only found whipped cream and thickened cream. I gave my aunt a call and she told me that thickened cream is the same as heavy/double cream. So I bought the Bulla Thickened Cream.
Anyway to cut the long story short, I would say it was a challenge, this Tiramisu. I didn't have enough liquid to soak all the lady fingers so I had to make a second batch. I think I know why. One thing to note when making this - don't soak the fingers too long. You want them just damp, not dripping with liquid. This will cause your tiramisu to be watery at the bottom. Mine was a little, but my friends loved it. In fact, one even commented that it's much better this way but that's because he didn't like his too dry.
Hmm... This won't be my last time trying out a Tiramisu. There'll be plenty more chances. The remaining mascarpone cheese is still sitting in my fridge. Anyone care to contribute a recipe so I could use it up?
1/2 cup (4 oz/125g) sugar
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) freshly brewed espresso
3 tablespoons dark rum
45 ladyfingers or savoiardi
For the filling:
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup (3 oz/90g) sugar
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) heavy (double) cream
1 and 1/2 cups (12 oz/375 g) mascarpone cheese
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) water and cook, stirrin frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso, and let cool to room temperature. When the espresso mixture has cooled, stir in the rum
Pour the espresso mixture into a wide, shallow bowl. Working in batches, briefly immerse the ladyfingers in the liquid. Using a spatula, transfer the ladyfingers to a plate. Set aside
To make the filling, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow and light in texture, about 2 mintues. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water, or transfer to the top pan of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat the yolk mixture until very thick, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set asie to cool, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, using the mixer on medium-high spped, beat the cream until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted.
Add the mascarpone and vanilla to the yolk mixture. Beat with the mixer on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream.
To assemble, use a metal spatula to transfer 15 soaked ladyfingers to a 9-inch (23 cm) square cake pan. Arrange them in a singer layer in the bottom of the pan. Using the rubber spatula, evenly spread one-third of the filling over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of 15 ladyfingers over the filling in the pan and evenly spread with half of the remaining filling. Top with the remaining ladyfingers and filling, again spreading evenly.
Gently tap the pan against the counter to settle the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
To serve, run a thin knife around the inside of the cake pan to loosen the cake. Sift a dusting of cocoa over the top. Cut into slices and serve.
Note: Ladyfingers - light, flat cookies that are as long as a finger - are available in many food stores and bakerires. Savoiardi, the Italian version of these delicate sponge cakes, are sold in specialty-food stores and by mail order. This dish includes eggs that are only partially cooked.
**Note from the baker: You can use Bailey's (like I did) and if you're in Singapore, you can find Savoiardi at Carrefour, under the biscuits section.
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Italian cookbook