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.
This challenge doesn’t sound really hard, but these are the Daring Bakers, so of course you don’t buy ladyfingers and mascarpone, but make them from scratch. Yes, ladyfingers and mascarpone from scratch.
In the following, I’ll give you some comments on my adventures in tiramisu making. You’ll find all the recipes at the end of the post.
I used 30% whipping cream and made only a quarter recipe. I had problems right from the beginning. The whipping cream never got up to 190 degrees. I have no idea what I was doing wrong. The thermometer stayed at 180. The recipe said the bottom of the mascarpone pan shouldn’t touch the water, but to rise the temperature, I lowered it into the water pan, but nothing really happened. After about 45 minutes of stirring, I gave up and poured it into the lined sieve. The next morning, it had the texture of butter (see picture below), and there was no whey at all. The dish towel was not wet either. This didn’t look like mascarpone at all, but I used it for the tiramisu anyway.
Making the zabaglione wasn’t hard. It wasn’t as thick as I had expected, though. Maybe this was due to the orange juice that I used instead of Marsala wine or coffee called for in the recipe.
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
This cream was extremely yummy!!! I’ll make it again as a dessert for my family.
Easy-peasy: mix chilled heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. I used 30% whipping cream.
It’s funny how this biscuit has different names in different languages. In English they are called ladyfingers, in Dutch lange vinger (long fingers), in German Löffelbiskuit (spoon biscuits) and in Italian biscotto savoiardo (biscuits from Savoy). Update: Joanna from Jauhot Suussa let me know that in Finnish they are called kissankielikeksit (cat tongue biscuits). I had to remove the Japanese writing because it won’t show up on most computers.
Anyway, it was really fun to make these and the result was really yummy. Just like the store-bought ones. A big advantage is when you make them from scratch you can make whatever shape you desire. And I desired 2 round ones because I wanted to make a nice tiramisu in a dessert ring…
Assembling the tiramisu was quite a challenge. I dipped the ladyfingers in orange juice instead of coffee because we don’t like coffee (well, the hubby does, but there are 4 people here that don’t ;-)). I stuck part of it in a dessert ring and put it in the freezer, that came out ok, the remaining stuff was assembled in a dish and put in the fridge to firm up a little, but it didn’t. In addition to the traditional ingredients, I put raspberries on top and sprinkled cocoa powder over the whole assembly. I wasn’t really happy with the result because the non-freezer version was just not firm enough. The tiramisu from the freezer looked fine, though. Taste-wise, the tiramisu was ok, but I won’t make it again because I have a tiramisu recipe that is more agreeable with our tastebuds. Still, thanks for this CHALLENGING challenge.
(adapted from Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340 g of mascarpone cheese
- 500 ml/ 2 cups whipping pasteurized cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
- 1 tblsp 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.
- Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles.
- 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
- Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tblsp sugar/50 g
- 1/4 cup/60 ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
- 1/4 tsp/ 1.25 ml vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- Heat water in a double boiler.
- In a large 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 the double boiler.
- 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.
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
- 1/4 cup/55 g sugar
- 1 tblsp/8 g all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp/ 2.5 ml vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup/175 ml whole milk
- 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.
- 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.
- 1 cup/235 ml chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup/55 g sugar
1/2 tsp/ 2.5 ml vanilla extract
- 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.
(adapted from: Cordon Bleu At Home)
- 3 eggs, separated
- 6 tblsp /75 g granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup/95 g cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tblsp corn starch)
- 6 tblsp /50gms confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then line 2 baking sheets 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.
- Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip 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.
- 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.
Assembling the tiramsiu
(adapted from: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007)
- 2 cups/470 ml brewed espresso, warmed
- 1 tsp/5 ml rum extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup/110 g sugar
- 1/3 cup/75 g mascarpone cheese
- 36 ladyfinger biscuits
- 2 tablespoons/30 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do).
- 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.
- Working 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 dish, 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.