Friday, September 3, 2010

Always a star at the dinner table- TIRAMISU

Tiramisu, this Italian picker upper that everybody loves. Me, personally, with a strong cup of Turkish coffee. Oh, so good!

This sweet guilty pleasure is always a star around my dinner table, especially when we have company. I usually make it a day ahead so that all the flavors can develop to their fullest and start complementing each other.

Although mascarpone and lady fingers are the staple of tiramisu, I find it much more delicious made with sponge cake and custard cream. Yes, it takes more time, but in the end it pays off.


Ingredients for the cake:
5 eggs, divided
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
5 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Beat 5 egg whites with a pinch of salt into hard peak egg white fluff.

In a separate bowl beat egg yolks with sugar and water until they become light yellow in color. Add egg white fluff. Fold in with a hand mixer, not the electric one. Gently fold in flour mixed with baking powder.

Pour into 9x12 inch pan dusted with flour and bake for no more than 25 min at 350*F (185*C). Set aside and let cool down.

Ingredients for the cream:
4 whole eggs
3 tbsp granulated sugar
8 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
8 tbsp butter, softened

In a pot with a heavy bottom mix together all ingredients with an electric mixer. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it thickness. Transfer into a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool down. When completely cooled, add the softened butter. Mix well to obtain smooth cream.

For soaking:
1 cup of strong coffee
1 tsp rose water or orange blossom water (optional)

I usually use instant coffee. It's easier and more convenient. Prepare your instant coffee according to direction and stir in rose water or orange blossom water for that special "umh what's this" comment.

For decoration:
shaved dark chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream whipped to soft peaks
2 bananas, sliced

Putting it all together

For special occasions I mold my tiramisu in a round form (I cover the mold with plastic wrap, so I can be certain that when I flip my creation onto the plate there are no accidents) starting by cutting the sponge cake into strips and arranging 1/2 of them on the bottom of the mold. Soak the cake with 1/2 cup of coffee. Cover with a 1/3 of cream. Arrange half of the banana slices over the cream, cover with 1/3 of the cream, arrange banana slices again and finally that last third of the cream. Cover the top of the cream with the other half of the sponge cake strips and soak them with the remaining coffee. Put into the fridge and let rest over night.

The next day, before serving, flip the cooled tiramisu on the plate, cover it with whipping cream, and generously sprinkle with chocolate shavings.


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