Something you might know about me if you know me personally is that I am quite lactose intolerant (and that’s only one of my dietary issues). So my decision to make tiramisu was a pretty masochistic one. It’s definitely one of my favorite desserts, but it’s not something I should eat really more than once a year (oops, this makes twice this year, since I had some on my birthday with cheap champagne in an attempt to feel more fancy at the Boston Pops). So while this was a really fun dish to make, I won’t be making it again soon. I’ll probably wait until I have a reason to make something quasi-fancy. My stomach is still protesting hours later!
One problem I did encounter (other than there being about twice the amount of both coffee and mascarpone filling that I actually needed) was since I made the ladyfingers myself, they were much softer than ones bought in the store, and bordered on soggy. I left them out for a couple of days in the hope that they’d get a little staler, which some did, but in the future I’d try giving them even more time. I was pleased with the ladyfingers otherwise, though – their simplicity made them very quick to make and, since they had no additional flavoring besides some sugar, they took on the flavor of the coffee mixture very nicely.
I really didn’t do myself any favors today as far as eating well…ok, I did have a big fruit salad for breakfast, but I couldn’t help myself and mixed in some of the leftover whipped honey frosting since I had added nuts and honey and nuts go SO WELL together in my mouth. Yum! I also decided last night that since we were going to be having an Italian dessert, I had to make us an Italian dinner to go with it. I didn’t want pasta, it didn’t feel special enough…pizza even moreso…but calzones are nice! No recipe, though, since the dough and sauce were store-bought. Baby steps, you know? Tomato sauce is on my list of things to try making, and I’m going to add it to the “immediate list” soon. Speaking of the “immediate list,” today I got everything I’m going to need to make the most complicated cupcakes I’ve made yet (with a FILLING! I’m nervous), as well as the ingredients for some risotto (which Z has been eager for me to learn how to make, especially if it involves mushrooms, which it will) and the things I need to make some totally awesome-looking chocolate chip cookies from Smitten Kitchen. Seriously, look at them! Just that first picture was enough for Z and I to want, badly. So I’ll be posting about that soon, too!
I also tried something for the first time today, since the pallet at the grocery store actually looked fresh: figs! I don’t think they’re particularly in season right now, but the ones at the store looked so juicy that I gave in and bought a couple. Out of sheer curiosity (also I was hungry) I ate one as soon as I got home. It tasted exactly like I thought it would, and I’d love to eat a fresher one. I especially loved the very insides with the little seeds…yum.
Enough of my food adventures, here’s the recipe I used for the tiramisu!
A few days before you want to assemble the tiramisu, make the ladyfingers.
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup white sugar
7/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Sift flour and baking soda together. Whip egg whites for about 2 minutes, or until soft peaks begin to form. Slowly add 2 Tbsp of the sugar, continuing to whip until the whites are stiff and glossy. In another bowl, combine the rest of the sugar with the yolks and beat until thick and light in color. Fold half of the whites into the yolks, then fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the rest of the whites. Preheat the oven to 400. Use a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (ideally 1/2″) to pipe out 3″ long cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake the ladyfingers for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool, then store in a lightly covered container (you want some air to get in so they go a bit stale) for a few days, until you are ready to put together the rest of the dessert.
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup white sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese (standard container size)
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 cups very strong brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to room temperature
2 Tbsp Frangelico
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Mix egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale in color, then beat in the mascarpone until just combined. In a separate bowl, whip whites with salt until they just hold soft peaks, then slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue whipping until they begin to hold stiff peaks. In a third bowl, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it into the mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly. Fold in the egg whites. In a shallow bowl, stir the coffee and Frangelico together. Briefly immerse each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture before placing them in a 2-quart dish. Once the bottom is covered in an even layer, cover the ladyfingers with a layer of mascarpone mixture. Repeat until the ladyfingers are used up, covering everything with an even layer of mascarpone. Chill for 6-24 hours before serving. Right before serving, dust the top evenly with cocoa powder.
The original recipe called for only two layers in an apparently much bigger dish than the one I used. I liked having a super tall tiramisu, though! It was a little hard to get a serving out of the dish, and I ended up cutting a small wedge and using a pie server to get it out. Thus, there are no attractive plated pictures. But at least you can see the nice layers in the pictures that did come out all right!