Daring Bakers, February: MASCARPONE + SAVOIARDI BISCUITS + ZABAGLIONE = 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.
Mascarpone Cheese – Vera’s Recipe (Baking Obsession) for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese.
Savoiardi/ Ladyfinger Biscuits – Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home
Tiramisu – Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007
This was the best tiramisu I've ever eaten--not too boozy (because I don't really care for boozy desserts so I didn't souse this one up), not too sweet, not too much of any component (oh, the benefits of making desserts your own self).
I made the savoiardi biscuits first because they keep several days and I wanted to get as much done in advance as possible, knowing I'd put the rest off until the last minute. ;)The key here is steady piping if you want them to look pretty, but after you bury them in the lovely tiramisu cream (zabaglione and mascarpone and pastry cream and whipped cream, all folded together), it doesn't matter what they look like--they'll taste just like heaven. *cues The Cure, starts a kicky little 80s dance* Anyway, cute cookies are good if you're serving the leftovers to dunk into tea or coffee, or as a garnish to another dessert (ice cream, sorbet, cut fruit, just zabaglione to dip it in, chocolate sauce, etc.).
This was my favorite trick (no, not the one that makes me scream seasick)--making mascarpone at home with just some cream and lemon juice. The hardest part was knowing when the cream had reached the right consistency after cooking it with the lemon juice. It really was just like a creme anglais, which is just a bit thicker than the cream out of the container. The trick is to use about twice as many layers of cheesecloth as the recipe states. The first time I poured the cream through, more than half dripped through the cloth-lined sieve after I'd set it in the fridge for a bit. I carefully lifted the cloth holding the cream that had remained and already set a bit, then added a few more layers of damp cloth under it. I poured the cream that had dripped through, and this time, most of it stayed. After 24 hours, all that had dripped through was the clear whey that was supposed to drip through, and what was left was a luxuriously soft and creamy cheese. Nom!
Zabaglione can be tricky. The first couple of times I made it, I sounded like a kid on a car trip: "are we there yet? are we there yet?" Look for the mixture to really gain some volume--at least twice the volume, if not triple. Other times I've made zabaglione, it didn't get this dark. This time it did, and that was fine. Awesome, even!
I've never made a tiramisu with pastry cream added. This time I did, and that was fine. Awesome, even!
No fancy plating this time--I just didn't have the time nor the energy for it. Instead, I went rustic, layering the components in a small clear dish, and scooping it out family style when I served it. Besides, I waited until just several hours before serving instead of the usual night before, so it didn't set up to make an even cut.
The next day, though, I cut the leftovers, which had had 24 hours to set and for the flavors to really come together. A trick for those wanting a super clean cut and "assisted" height: freeze it for a couple of hours, then cut with a sharp knife, cleaning the blade between each cut you make. I wasn't feeling so particular. ;)
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