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....

ETA: Adding recipe in this space to compensate for disappearing blogs!

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
(Recipe from Baking Obsession) 

Makes about 12 oz
  • 500 ml whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk
For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.
For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.
Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

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 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!