It is 5:30 in the morning and I am up and about to watch The Oscars. I think it happened a few years ago when I turned the TV on because I couldn’t sleep and now I’ve just stuck to the tradition. A hot cup of coffee, early morning breakfast, gorgeous gowns on the Red Carpet and my favourite part, The Oscars – what’s not to like? Although, I wish I had the same enthusiasm to wake up and jog; I’d be fit as a fiddle.
I am really excited about the recipes I’ve planned for you this month; let’s just say that it is going to be diverse. I made a grocery list that was never ending and finished shopping over the weekend; baking aside, walking down the grocery aisle and browsing through ingredients has got to be my Zen place, except for the bit when I go ballistic after looking at the price on them. Which is why I am introducing a new column on my blog – DIY Thursdays; some of these ingredients we just blindly buy are so incredibly easy to make, if only we have the time and the patience, so watch out for Thursdays!
The problem with a smashing dessert like Tiramisu is that there are about a zillion versions and a gazillion recipes and there is no way to tell which one is authentic. Over the years, restaurants have recreated the dessert, improvised on it and some have even butchered it ruthlessly (I mean, what is savoury tiramisu, really?). However, there is no dispute on the fact that coffee, espresso to be more precise, is the essence of tiramisu.
Savoiardi biscuits, popularly known as ladyfingers are first dipped in a deadly, coffee syrup and they form the base of the tiramisu. In some cases, pan di spagna, a light sponge, is used in place of ladyfingers. The biscuits are then layered with an unbelievably delicious, velvety Zabaione cream made from egg yolks, mascarpone, whipped cream and sugar; when I was making it, I wanted to dive in it, I swear.
Originally, a combination of Italian liquors like Sambuca and Strega are added generously to the Zabaione, but because they were inaccessible, I used dark rum. You could use Marsala too, if you can get your hands on a bottle. To finish off, the top layer is dusted with unsweetened cocoa; icing on the cake, literally!
I tweaked the dessert a little in terms of its appearance – I used a 5.5 inch ring mould and placed it on top of a 6 inch, round, cardboard cake board (a plate will work just fine).I stacked the biscuits on the base and the side of the ring mould. You can stick to the conventional way of layering the dessert in a wide, deep dish. Whichever way you choose to make it, make sure you refrigerate the tiramisu overnight for best results.
Ps: Matthew McConaughey and Kate Blanchet won! Yay! This calls for some of that irresistible tiramisu.
For Zabaione filling
- 3 egg yolks
- 60 g caster sugar
- 300 g mascarpone
- 2/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp dark rum
- 30 Savoiardi biscuits
- 66 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
- ¼ cup (60ml) water
- ½ cup (120 ml) strong brewed coffee
- ¼ cup (60ml) dark rum
- ¾ cup (100 ml) water
- 5 egg whites
- 250 g (2 cups) sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder
- For the coffee syrup, bring sugar and water to the boil. Add coffee and rum. Set aside.
- Beat egg yolks and sugar till pale and creamy (3 minutes). Fold in the mascarpone and mix just until combined. Add the rum and fold until combined. Now, beat the whipping cream in a separate bowl until you obtain soft peaks. Add the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and beat till combined.
- For the Italian meringue, combine the sugar and water and simmer them in medium heat until the food thermometer reaches 112 C. If you don’t own a food thermometer, you should allow the syrup to boil until you get to soft ball consistency.
- Once the syrup is done, allow it to gently trickle down the egg whites, while beating it. Beat on medium speed until you obtain shiny, stiff peaks (8 minutes) and the bowl gets cold from the outside.
- Fold in the prepared meringue mixture, into the mascarpone mixture. Fold just until combined.
- Now, dip each lady finger into the coffee syrup, for not more than 3 seconds and layer them on the base and the sides of your dish. Spread some of the Zabaione over the biscuits. Layer the biscuits again over the Zabaione. Keep alternating the two, finishing with Zabaione. Dust the top with unsweetened cocoa and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.