Saturday, February 27, 2010

DB: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

When I saw the February 2010 Daring Bakers’ Challenge I groaned. Tiramisu. Two tastes I hate most in the world (coffee & pudding) rolled into one dessert. I seriously considered not doing the challenge, but then I remembered my mom LOVES Tiramisu so I figured I could pawn the whole thing off on her.

The Tiramisu was composed of a lot of individual parts that made up the finished product. Mascarpone cheese, Savoilardi Biscuits, Zabaglione, pastry cream, and sweetened whipped cream. Each had to be made from scratch and then assembled.

First came the Mascarpone cheese. I had trouble from the beginning. You were supposed to use pasteurized whipping cream and using a double boiler, heat it to 190 degree. I don't have a double boiler, and all I could find at the store was ultra-pasteurized. I use an improvised double boiler, but no matter how long I heated, I couldn't get the temperature of the cream to rise above 170 degrees.

Finally I took the pot of cream out of my improvised double boiler and set it directly on the heat. The temperature shot up to 190 within seconds and the cream started to thicken.

After cooling, the mascarpone cheese went into a sieve lined with cheese cloth (I didn't have cheese cloth so I used a kitchen towel), and then into the frig for overnight chilling.

Next came the Zabaglione (what in the heck is that?). Egg yolks, sugar, Marsala wine, vanilla and lemon zest, heated gently (in that double boiler again) until it thickens.

Pastry cream next. Same kinda ingredients: egg yolks, sugar, milk, lemon zest, vanilla, heat until thickened.

Now the cookies. Yes! Something I might actually eat. Whip together the egg whites and sugar and then add the yolks.

Add the flour to the egg mixture and fold gently.

Pipe the batter onto a parchment lined baking pan.

Sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar and then bake for 15 minutes. I think I might have baked my cookie a little too long. They were a little hard and the bottoms were very brown.

With the cookies baked and my mascarpone, zabaglione, and pastry cream chilled it was time to start assembling the Tiramisu.

I de-sieved my mascarpone and found a hard lump. It was supposed to be soft and smooth, but mine had the consistency of cold butter. In other words: hard-as-a-rock. I guess using that ultra-pasteurized whipping cream did me in.

But I moved on. I beat my mascarpone till it softened a little and then dumped in the pastry cream and zabaglione. Looks kinda gross huh? Like jars of baby food all dumped together. Did I mention I don't like "cream/pudding" desserts. This kinda grossed me out.

Now comes the assembly part. Dip the Savoiardi biscuits (Lady Fingers), into sweetened coffee and line the bottom of the pan with the moist cookies.

Top with the cream/pudding mixture and then more cookies.

Refrigerate overnight, and then server. My Tiramisu wouldn't set, so I stuck it in the freezer to harden it up enough to cut.

And yes I did taste some. It had a lemony flavor and I didn't taste much coffee at all (which is a good thing for me).

So all-in-all the Tiramisu challenge was very enjoyable. I had a lot of fun making the individual components and assembling the finished product was a breeze. And you know what? Everyone who tried the Tiramisu honestly seamed to enjoy it (some even asked for seconds, and one person wanted thirds), and in the end making your guest happy is what is really important.

I'm sure glad I didn't skip this month's challenge. Thanks Aparna and Deeba for introducing me to a great new dessert.

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