Tiramisu … Pick Me Up

I had a request to make Tiramisu from my nephew.  We researched recipes together and made a beautiful dessert. We even had enough to make two individual sized portions (for taste testing later).  Quality control is important :-).

Tiramisu is an Italian dessert…and  means “pick me up” or “lift me up”.  It’s made with ladyfinger cookies (Italian: Savoiardi) dipped in espresso that may or may not include a shot of your favorite liquor (we added Marsala).  Mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, egg whites, sugar (not that much really) are used, then dusted with powdered chocolate.  With the coffee and liquor, it is more of an adult dessert.

I got this recipe from cookingwithrosie@blogspot.com.  Everyone loved the dish.   Her recipe is below the photos.  We doubled it for our big crowd.

The making of our Tiramisu...Italian Mascarpone is the key ingredient...along with Ladyfinger cookies...no baking needed...whipped egg whites, mixing the mascarpone, eggs and sugar in my husbands 35 year old Kitchen Aide mixer....(built to last) and dipping and layering into a luscious, creamy mature dessert.

The making of our Tiramisu…Italian Mascarpone is the key ingredient…along with Ladyfinger cookies…no baking needed…whipped egg whites, mixing the mascarpone, eggs and sugar in my husbands 35 year old Kitchen Aide mixer….(built to last) and dipping and layering into a luscious, creamy mature dessert was a fun project for my nephew and me.  Using quality ingredients matters…we used fresh organic eggs, Dean & Deluca’s dutch processed cocoa and Italian products from Claros Italian store…

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Ingredients

625 ml (2-2½ cups) strong espresso, cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs or 5 small/medium eggs, separated
4-5 tbsp sugar (one tablespoon per egg) I use a regular spoon to measure – if you use a measuring spoon it will taste sweeter (personal preference).
500 g (16 oz) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 200-250 g (7-9 oz) pkg Savoiardi or Pavesini (lady fingers) These are known as Löffelbiscuits in Germany.
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or to taste) Again, I use a regular spoon but a measuring spoon will also work.

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixture till stiff peaks form but not dry; set aside. 2. In another medium bowl, Beat the egg yolks with sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. If not beaten well, then the filling will have an egg-y taste. Then add mascarpone cheese and mix until there are no more lumps. . 3. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon. 4. Dip the cookies in espresso (you can add a shot of your favourite liquer to the espresso, like rum, amaretto, brandy, Frangelico, marsala, etc.) and lay them into a 9×14 rectangular glass pan (or you may use another container/pan). You can leave 3-4 mm (1/4 inch) or a finger’s width between each cookie for the filling, or you can place them close/next to each other so there is no filling between the lady fingers (personal preference). Pour half the mascarpone mixture onto the cookies and spread evenly across the top. 5. Repeat step 4 with the next layer but alternate the cookies perpendicular (or just follow the same pattern as in the first layer) to the ones in the first layer. 6. Refrigerate for over night for best results. If you really must, then refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours before serving but it might still be runny. Sprinkle with cocoa. Makes 12 large pieces or 16 smaller pieces.

from cookingwithrosie@blogspot.com

I have this thought…that just like the “tea affogato(see post here)… maybe, just maybe, converting this traditional espresso laden dish into one with tea soaked biscuits might be an interesting version.  We’ll see.  I might give it a try with a rich Assam and a light sherry.  Or maybe not…maybe this is best left alone. It was pretty awesome tasting.

But still, drink tea….it’s good for you 🙂

 

The Incredible Egg … The Main Ingredient For These Individual Quiche Pies

The egg is literally my favorite ingredient.  It’s versatility is vast.  It’s widely available and, like water, often an ingredient that is  a bit taken for granted, under appreciated.  I am fascinated by how it reacts when separated and whipped into fluffy pillows with the whites, or when yolks are spun into a golden ribbon when beaten with sugar.  The texture of a tender, slightly jiggly custard is a thing I relish.  The egg makes a meal unto itself, or, is happy to be a team player and serve as a binder for meatballs or can emulsify with oil into a luscious spread.  It’s a satisfying protein and a humble thing.

Recently, at Chef Katie Averill’s Eat Street Culinary Cooking School, in Anaheim, we held a hands-on cooking class using several recipes from my Tea With Betty Book.  One of my favorites is the egg cream filling for making individual egg tarts (or petite quiche).

 

Quiche made with my favorite egg cream...and fresh herbs

Quiche made with my favorite egg cream…and fresh herbs

Fresh organic herbs and tomatoes from my garden, along with bacon (mmmmm bacon) and fontina cheese...ready to go into the egg cream mixture in your blind baked pastry shell..for quiche

Fresh organic herbs and tomatoes from my garden, and, pictured below, crispy bacon (mmmmm bacon) and fontina cheese…ready to go into the egg cream mixture in your blind baked pastry shell..for quiche

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This recipe I most enjoy using for mini quiche is so easy to make… add your favorite inclusions to your pre-baked pastry shell, then your egg mixture and voila…quiche.   I don’t always add cheese as I just love the egginess to be like a custard, but feel free to pull anything you want from your refrigerator and garden to create your own tasty little pie.  On this day, Chef Katie had found these darling, individual sized disposable tart pans for use in class.  They worked well as a vehicle for students to carry home their extra cooked product.  She found these at Home Goods.

Recipe:

Blind Baked Basic Pastry Shells (either store bought or homemade).

Egg Cream Mixture

Enough for 12 (2 ½” x 2 ½”) square tarts.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

¾ cup cream and ¾ cup milk (total 1 ½ cups milk product)

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

Pinch of salt and pepper

Pinch of grated nutmeg

Using a fork, beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until well mixed.

Fill blind baked tart shells with various ingredients. Suggestions include:

A large pinch of shredded cheddar cheese, two roasted cherry tomatoes (skin removed), and a torn basil leaf placed in the bottom of the blind baked pastry shell. Then fill with cream mixture, carefully, just to the top of the shell. Bake about 20 minutes until cream mixture is set.

A large pinch of shredded mozzarella placed in bottom of blind baked tart shell and minced basil, parsley, thyme, and chives.  Fill with cream mixture and bake approximately 20 minutes.

Note: Always use fresh eggs…check the dates.  When possible, I use organic eggs.  One day soon I plan on testing recipes with different eggs as there is a whole world of variety out there coming from our friend the chicken … a subject I am looking forward to researching…I can see a few “egg”  test kitchen tasting experiments in my future.