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.
Tiramisu is probably Daddy’s favorite dessert of all time. But it is not something I would have attempted at home with out this challenge as motivation. It was a serious challenge to find the appropriate substitutes to make it dairy-free. I love the idea of being able to give him his favorites in a way the whole family can share. Of all the challenges I have participated in, this one provided the most learning experiences - experiences which I will be able to translate to other desserts.
Tiramisu I learned has four major components; the ladyfingers or Savoiardi, the pastry cream, the marscapone, and the zabaglione. It was surprising how many eggs took. Between all the different parts, I used eleven eggs.
I made each part separately over the course of 3 days and then assembled it all on Thursday so it would be ready for Shabbat.
The Savoiardi - I used this recipe. Several people commented about how hard they are to make but I found them easy enough and fun. The texture and flavor are so much better than store bought.
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.
For the marscapone, I tried a few different recipes and was not satisfied with either of them. I used one recipe starting with yogurt to make my own marscapone as indicated in the challenge. It tasted awful. It was way too sour. I tried again using coconut milk but it never thickened up sufficiently. I finally used Tofuitti cream cheese in the final dish.
The zabaglione is the part that actually flavors the tiramisu. You can change up the flavor by really tinkering with this part. I was not brae enough to try that this time around especially since Daddy is a traditionalist.
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml extra strong coffee
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
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.
Then came assembling it. Fairly simple in theory. Dip the lady fingers and lay them out in the dish. Mix the zabaglione, marscapone, and pastry cream together. Place a layer of that on. Repeat.
Well since the pastry cream had turned all liquidy, it did not work very well. The dish as a whole tasted great but it was soupy and not attractive at all.