As I got back from Dubai one of the first blogging duties I did was check out the latest Daring Bakers’ challenge. Although the group has grown into a size of a small town and I certainly do not know half of them, I am always pleased to surf onto a new find and make a new acquaintance. I also love seeing the variety of interpretations on one recipe, which often gives me new ideas and inspiration for a future recipe or experiment.
The challenge this month brought me pleasure. Not much baking but trying out a few new ideas with one of my favorite desserts.
Tiramisu – the divine Italian dessert translates to mean ‘pick me up’, supposedly referring to the ‘kick’ provided by the strong coffee, sugar and alcohol in it. The classic tiramisu is made of alternate layers of espresso soaked ladyfinger biscuits and a cream made from mascarpone cheese and zabaglione. It is the perfect balance of flavors of a sweet zabaglione, strong coffee, Marsala wine, creamy mascarpone cheese and the dusting of unsweetened cocoa.
While I am true to and love the classic version, I can never resist playing around with different flavors and ingredients to add a whole new twist to this popular Italian dessert. So the Daring Bakers’ challenge offered me the perfect opportunity to experiment.
The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge is 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.
The mandatory parts of the challenge was making our own mascarpone cheese and savoiardi / ladyfinger biscuits. Furthermore, the zabaglione and pastry cream were also to be made using the given recipes.
I was looking forward to making the mascarpone the most. Living in a country where I have a large variety of mascarpone cheese available at various stores I never would have even thought of making my own mascarpone cheese. But thanks to the Daring Bakers I dared to do so. I make homemade paneer regularly and have made homemade quark on a few occasions, so the mascarpone was a great ingredient to tackle.
I have made a few variations of savoiardi - chocolate and cinnamon - as they are always nice to have around the house for desserts, so at first I toyed around with the idea of using a flavor for them. I decided against it as I wanted the main flavor for this Tiramisu to come from the fruit I planned on using.
Mangoes and passionfruit have been on my mind lately and I was all excited to pair them together and feature in this dessert. While the skies outside are gray I needed the sunny yellow tropical flavors to give me an optimistic outlook that Spring is really just around the corner.
Well it seemed to work as a few days later the sun came out and our temperature has reached double digits (Celsius)!
Zabaglione is something I enjoy making - it's easy to make, it's creamy, it's fluffy and can be made in all flavors with all sorts of seasonal fruits. I've shared a few tips and tricks for a perfect zabaglione so if you are tackling this for the first time you might find them useful. Finally the recipe for pastry cream was very straightforward and having made it in some form or the other posed no great threat.
I organized my schedule for the challenge:
Day 1: Savoiardi and Mascarpone
Day 2: Zabaglione and pastry cream + Assembly
Day 3: Sit back and enjoy
I love eggs in almost any form and this recipe has it’s share of egg yolks to beat into fluffy zabaglione and to add a smoothness to the pastry cream. I was happy to have left over egg whites that were put to good use a few days later. Yes I do love eggs!
This was a thoroughly enjoyed challenge. I enjoyed making the different elements, putting it together, photographing and of course eating it. I made individual bowls for a little dinner party I gave last weekend. I liked the idea of giving my guests the pleasure of thinking “This is all mine!” when their bowl was served.
I used Cointreau and a mango/orange juice mix in the zabaglione and pastry cream instead of Marsala and coffee to complement the fruity mango and passionfruit flavors further. I also reduced the sugar amounts in each element quite a bit as when they came together I was sure it would make a very sweet dessert. It was important for me to have the fruit flavors take front row and the sweetness of the tiramisu be highlighted with the natural sweetness of the fruit. Below you will find the recipe with my modifications.
Mango & Passionfruit Tiramisu
Recipes adapted from:
Mascarpone Cheese – Vera’s Recipe (Baking Obsession) for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese.
Savoiardi/ Ladyfinger Biscuits – Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home
Tiramisu – Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007
Printable version of recipe here
Makes approx. 6 individual dessert bowls or glasses
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
30ml mango/orange juice
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
For the vanilla pastry cream:
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
25gms vanilla sugar
To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml orange mango juice
1 teaspoon/5ml Cointreau
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 ripe mangoes, cut into cubes
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, Cointreau, juice, 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 and vanilla sugar 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 juice and Cointreau in a shallow dish. Set aside.
- 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 2 ladyfingers (per bowl/glass) in the Cointreau-juice mixture, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger into the bowl/glass, placing them side by side to cover the bottom. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
- Spoon a few spoonfuls of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers in each dessert bowl. Top with a few mango cubes and the pulp of 1/2 a passionfruit (per bowl).
- Repeat to create 1 more layer, using 2 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Spoon the remaining mango cubes and the other halves of passionfruit pulp. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
- To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and allow the individual bowls to come to room temperature.
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon 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. 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 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.
The mascarpone will have a custard-like texture when it has been cooked through, which firms up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.
LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
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.
This was a light and fluffy tiramisu. The zabaglione gave the entire cream a nice volume. Usually I will use a mixture of mascarpone and whipped cream for my tiramisu, however, adding a zabaglione made it lighter and fluffier. It was one of those desserts you hope never ends. Tropical flavors and delicious cream paired with a soft biscuit – always big in my opinion. The sight of an empty bowl seemed to make my guests sad, but I am glad they enjoyed it to the very last bite – even if after the meal we all complained about over-eating.
You might like these delectable Italian treats from WFLH:
|Raspberry Chocolate Tiramisu||Panna Cotta with Saffron & Cardamom||Cannoli with Gianduja Cream and Lemon Goat Cheese Cream|
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