Monday, March 01, 2010

Daring Bakers February 2010 - Tiramisu

Tiramisu Closeup
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I know, I know. It is no longer February. I have been catching up on my fun-things to-do list, which also included a bunch of gardening this weekend. So I literally made the elements of tiramisu - lady fingers, mascarpone cheese, zabaglione, pastry cream, and whipped cream - in between gardening ventures, which I now blog about over here. Trust me, I know even less about gardening than I do baking, so if you have any advice to give, hop on over. (For instance, it could snow - what should I do for the spinach and lettuce I planted? Ah, crazy weather).

Back to 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.

Homemade marscarpone cheese
Included in the challenge was that everything had to be made from scratch, including the lady fingers (savoiardi) and mascarpone cheese. I've made tiramisu before, although not such a complicated recipe, so I was honestly the most excited about making cheese from scratch, something I've never done! First I had to hunt down cheesecloth, and I had some funny phone conversations with people working at various grocery stories until I found some at a craft store. It seemed essential, and I'm glad I bought it since it was pretty liquidy before it cooled. I actually got to a point in the recipe where I'd already cooked it twice as long as it said and it wasn't getting any thicker, so I called it good and thought I'd see what happened.

I loved how it turned out - thick, spreadable, soft - I now have almost a cup left over, and would love suggestions for how to use it! I will never buy mascarpone at the store again. This was probably 1/4 of the cost to do it this way, and simple.

The four parts of the filling
Ultimately I was unhappiest with the filling. It was made of four components - the mascarpone, whipped cream, the zabaglione, and the pastry cream. It was pretty soft when I layered it with the lady fingers, but I was hopeful that it would set up. Maybe it isn't supposed to entirely in "real" tiramisu, but I just feel like I must have done something wrong. WIth all the variables and my complete and utter last-minuteness (actually overdueness at this point!) I didn't have time to retrace my steps. I'd hate to think it was something as simple as underbeating the whipped cream.

During one of the stages, I think when I made the zabaglione and pastry cream, Sleepless in Seattle was on the television. If you know the movie enough, you probably know what comes next, but probably the best movie quotation about tiramisu ever:

Sam Baldwin: What is "tiramisu"?
Jay: You'll find out.
Sam Baldwin: Well, what is it?
Jay: You'll see!
Sam Baldwin: Some woman is gonna want me to do it to her and I'm not gonna know what it is!

Unbaked lady fingers
A few years back, I had developed a chocolate tiramisu recipe based on the cheater recipe we used at the tearoom where I worked (it involved pudding, cream cheese, and pound cake, be very afraid). I hope I can track it down because this entire venture has made me really want to make that again. Until next time....

Categories: Cheese, Custard, Daring Bakers


ice tea: sugar high said...

Better late than never, that's what I always say =). Your tiramisu looks great. Well done

Top Fuzz said...

Your tiramisu looks great! So delicious! Well done! :)

Jenny said...

I had the same problem with the filling in this recipe, and I felt like a complete moron because of it. Your mascarpone looks great - if you liked making that, you should try cream cheese. It's just as easy (though it takes a little longer), and I'll never go back to store-bought on my bagels again!

Vegan Von Vittle said...

Sorry you were not happy with your filling! The end result still looks yummy!

Lisa Michelle said...

Jenny..I think your tiramisu looks fantastic! The only reason mine 'looks' like it set up so well was because I froze it for as long as I could before taking photos (I made mine at the last minute - so I didn't get to freeze it for as long as I wanted). No doubt this recipe has a looser consistency most probably due to the pastry cream plus less mascarpone than other titamisu recipes.

That said LOL@ your 'jolly 'ole drunken' tiramisu as opposed to your 'not quite' tiramisu. There so many ways it's made..I'm not sure anyone ever tastes the same thing! :D

Barbara Bakes said...

Great job on this challenge! Your marscarpone looks so smooth and creamy!