Wow, this is a first; I think. No goofy, sarcastic play on words in my title, just the name of the recipes provided. It’s really no big deal, but I loved the tiramisu in this challenge so much, that I wanted to keep the title simple and to the point, or maybe I’m sugar wasted from so many servings of this delicious, uber creamy tiramisu!
So as mentioned above, today we have a fancy, creamier twist on authentic tiramisu; everything from scratch, including the mascarpone cheese and ladyfingers; plus a white chocolate caramel latte tiramisu that I created.
I’ll never forget the first time I had tiramisu. It was an ex-boyfriend’s mother’s birthday, and we went to this great Italian restaurant on the upper east side to celebrate it with his family. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I remember the tiramisu. I’m not a coffee drinker, and in fact, I don’t really flip over the flavor of coffee in general, but wow, one bite of this creamy, cakey layered confection in front of me, and I was blown away.
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. Thanks, Deeba and Aparna!
This challenge was so much fun. I’ve made tiramisu before (well, tiramisu soup, but no need to get into that right now), but never made each component from scratch. What a brilliant idea by Aparna and Deeba! We were required to make our own savoiardi (ladyfingers) , mascarpone cheese, and of course, the zabaglione. However, there was an interesting addition to this recipe..vanilla pastry cream.
I’ve never seen vanilla pastry cream in any tiramisu recipe (unless you count those ‘quickie’ recipes that use instant vanilla pudding. Sorry to those of you who use those recipes because I understand you’re short on time, but the time it takes to stir that up with milk is about the same time it takes to make a pastry cream. I don’t hate the stuff, just not in my tiramisu, thank you.), so this was definitely interesting, and I couldn’t wait to taste it.
Due to my somewhat aversion to coffee, I decided to lighten up the coffee flavor a little by melting milk chocolate into the hot espresso. I nixed the sugar because milk chocolate is more than sweet enough. Now, I could have just blown off the coffee completely and dipped my ladyfingers in something other than espresso, like a fruit juice/syrup, tea, etc, (check out what other Daring Bakers dipped and flavored their tiramisu with), but I didn’t because I really wanted to remain true to the spirit of tiramisu, and I feel that spirit lies in that first bite I took at that nameless restaurant.
In fact, I remained so true, I didn’t think a tablespoon or two of chocolate liqueur would hurt either. If kids are going to be eating this, nix the chocolate liqueur and well, maybe the espresso (unless you want to stunt their growth; remember that one??), and go with a fruit syrup/juice or whatever IS NOT coffee or liqueur.
Now that I’d decided on my dipping liquid, I also wanted to flavor the zabaglione, mascarpone, pastry cream, whipped cream amalgamation. What better than a caramel sauce or syrup to make both a Milk Chocolate-Caramel LATTE tiramisu, (would MACCHIOTO be better suited? I like that word.) and a White Chocolate Caramel Latte tiramisu.
I knew one day I’d be able to take advantage of all those cool coffee shop concoctions that sound so great but I never get to enjoy due to my missing coffee gene. Well, the name of one anyway. My tiramisu contains espresso, kahlua, chocolate, caramel and cream instead of steamed milk, but isn’t that close to what they call a latte?
Speaking of kahlua, you can use any liqueur you want. The Daring Bakers tiramisu calls for rum extract in lieu of liqueur, so if you want to nix the alcohol, there’s another way to do it. However, if you want alcohol or liqueur in your tiramisu, whatever you prefer will be just fine, whether it be brandy, rum, marsala, amaretto, kahlua, creme de cacao, frangelico etc.
A tablespoon of any of the above is sufficient in the espresso and the mascarpone , if desired. But, if you want to surpass sufficient, by all means, go for it!
In the end, I decided to just swirl some of the homemade caramel sauce into the creamy filling and leave it at that in hopes of a pretty swirl throughout this luscious block of heaven (didn’t happen). As I type this entry, my tiramisu was just put into the freezer (it’s Feb. 27th, 2:57 am and I just finished it, once again proving that the last minute is my new BFF) to set quickly.
By the way, I’m eating the White Chocolate Caramel Latte Tiramisu right now. It’s 11:55 pm, later than I thought I would have this post up. Midnight bliss. The hell with tardiness. YUM.
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
- ¼ cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
- ¼ teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup/55gms sugar
- 1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¾ cup/175ml whole milk
- 1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
- ¼ cup/55gms sugar
- ½ teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
- 2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
- 1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
- ½ cup/110gms sugar
- ⅓ cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
- 36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
- 2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.
Recipe from My Baking Obsession
- 2 cups heavy cream - NOT ultra-pasteurized
- 1 tablespoon 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. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
- 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 and you will be able to draw a solid line through it with a finger. You will also 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.
From My Baking Obsession - The first time I made mascarpone I had doubts that it had been cooked enough because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge and will remain lusciously creamy. Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.
Double the recipe for more cheese.
- 3 eggs, separated
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ cup cake flour, sifted (or ¾ cup all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
- 6 tablespoons 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 ¾" 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
Authentic Tiramisu from Scratch
To make my versions of the master recipe:
For the Milk Chocolate Caramel Latte Tiramisu:
1. Omit the sugar in the master RECIPE syrup and melt about 1/2 cup chopped milk chocolate into the hot espresso instead. Stir in 1 tablespoon of chocolate or coffee liqueur, like kahlua, or whatever kind of alcohol you prefer, if desired.
2. Lay first layer of dipped ladyfingers (savoiardi biscuits) evenly in the pan. Top with a third of the cream, then drizzle and swirl in caramel on top of the cream. Repeat two more times, ending with cream, dipping and layering the remaining savoiardi biscuits as directed in the recipe. Drizzle and swirl the caramel into each layer of cream prior to topping with savoiardi biscuits.
3. Top with cocoa and powdered sugar.
For the White Chocolate Caramel Latte Tiramisu:
1. Omit sugar in hot espresso and stir in 1/4 cup chopped white chocolate instead.
2. Make a white chocolate ganache by heating the 1 cup of heavy cream in the recipe and pouring it over 6 oz chopped white chocolate – stirring until uniform. Chill completely, then beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the zabaglione-pastry cream-mascarpone filling and layer as directed in RECIPE, drizzling caramel on top of the cream in each layer.
3. Drizzle top with more caramel and shaved white chocolate, if desired.