November 28, 2007
I’m not a huge dessert fiend (except for ice cream, which I’ve already mentioned). However, I do love making desserts. I find that if I follow the recipes exactly, I am generally met with success. And most desserts end up looking gorgeous (not always the case with the average, every-night dinner). But, by the time I’m done mixing the batter, baking the layers, cooling the layers and icing the layers, I have a hard time getting all that excited for a slice of cake. Same goes for cookies (I mean, how many batches can one recipe possibly call for?), tarts (I generally have to physically restrain myself from trying to pop the thing out of the pan immediately out of the oven), pies (of course I have to make my own pate brisee) and the list goes on and on.
So I tend to get unreasonably excited for the opportunity to bring a dessert to a party, dinner or, heck, even a bakesale. A recent weeknight dinner with two of our friends (make-your-own pizzas, a theme I highly recommend) provided the perfect opportunity to try my hand at Tiramisu.
I scanned scores of recipes in search of the perfect one (another element of the dessert-creation process that I love). I ultimately settled on Ina Garten’s recipe for two reasons: (1) every recipe of hers I’ve tried has come out well above average (especially in the dessert category — perhaps because of the copious amounts of butter and cream) and (2) it called for a lot of mascarpone. I wish I could tell you my mascarpone motivation stems from a culinary reason, but–truth be told–I had several containers of the stuff in my fridge, periously close to expiring (how did they get there, you ask? stay tuned for a future post that will tell the sordid tale!).
Once again, Ina did not disappoint. This tiramisu was creamy and had a wonderful, strong coffee flavor. And the ladyfingers were flavorful without being mushy. The recipe (to which I made a few small tweaks, see below) was also incredibly easy. You do need to build in plenty of time for chilling, but beyond that, the recipe comes together extremely quickly.
And this one certainly satisfied my penchant for presentation. It was a beauty. And, best of all: we got to leave the leftovers with our friends, who happily ate them up!
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup good dark rum, divided*
1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, divided
16 to 17 ounces mascarpone cheese
30 Italian ladyfingers, or savoiardi
Bittersweet chocolate, shaved or grated
Confectioners’ sugar, optional**
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until very thick and light yellow. Lower the speed to medium and add 1/4 cup rum, 1/4 cup espresso, and the mascarpone. Whisk until smooth.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup rum and 1 1/4 cups espresso in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 side of each ladyfinger in the espresso/rum mixture and line the bottom of a 9 by 12 by 2-inch dish. Pour half the espresso cream mixture evenly on top.*** Dip 1 side of the remaining ladyfingers in the espresso/rum mixture and place them in a second layer in the dish. Pour the rest of the espresso cream over the top. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle the top with shaved chocolate and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
* I used Kahula, instead of dark rum.
** As you can see in the photos, I included chocolate shavings, but omitted the confectioners’ sugar.
*** I included a dusted layer of chocolate (using a Microplane) between layers.