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Quick Tiramisu

Quick Tiramisu

Classic Tiramisu is normally made with hard sponge fingers known as ladyfingers in the US and as Boudoir biscuits in UK. Some variations call for making a thin whisked sponge cut into two layers to fit the serving bowl. Additionally the classic recipe calls for whisked raw eggs to enrich the mascarpone cheese layer. Obviously this is not very acceptable to most people. I had noticed in the stores, small custard cup size plastic cups of tiramisu at a disgraceful price. So I decided to take my mascarpone filling and go from there. Mascarpone is a high fat, double cream cheese that is slightly sweet, and rich in both taste and texture. It is highly perishable so it is rare to find imported. It needs to be treated carefully since it is not as stable as Philadelphia.

Ingredients - about 12 portions

  • 1 packet of soft ladyfingers normally 24 (4 double layers of 6) to a pack and about 3 oz weight
  • 3/4 c very stong coffee. I use 1½ Tbsp instant espresso powder to 3/4 c hot water (brands Ferrara and Medaglia d'oro available in specialty shops for about $3-4 for 2oz jar)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ c coffee liqueur or sweet marsala
  • 1 lb of Mascarpone cheese (normally domestic, available in ½ lb tubs in specialist cheese section of store ranging from $4-$8 per lb for the same brand, so shop around and watch for date stamp)
  • ¼ c powdered sugar
  • 1 c liquid heavy or whipping cream (known as double cream in UK)
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder

Method

1. Choose a 6-8c attractive serving bowl that is wide and shallow (nice vegetable serving dish will do)

2. Divide sponge fingers into the 4 layers. Put one layer in bottom of bowl and arrange other three layers standing up against the sides of the bowl like flower petals. Normally rounded side out.

3. Dissolve instant coffee and sugar in hot water or add sugar to made hot coffee. Add liqueur. Taste and see if you want more liqueur or sugar.

4. Spoon/drizzle coffee mix onto lady fingers until they are completely saturated and no longer white looking. Coffee might pool at bottom of bowl, so rotate bowl so fingers absorb more coffee liquid.

5. In a 6 c mixing bowl, whisk 1c cream, ¼ c sugar, and 2 tbsp liqueur until stiff.

6. Add mascarpone and gently whisk into cream mix until blended. Taste and see if you want more sugar as you don't want to be eating tasteless cream cheese.

7. Gently spoon cheese mix into bowl and smooth top.

8. Take one piece of clean computer paper and cut into long ½" wide strips. Place the paper in parallel lines about 1" apart on top of cream cheese. Press the paper slightly into cheese at edges if it won't stay. Place more strips of paper at almost right angles on top of the first row of paper. Look and see what looks most attractive to you. You are aiming for a lattice work of paper with cheese mix showing through, including at the edges.

9. Place cocoa powder in a fine strainer/sieve(tea strainer is great) and gently tap or stir cocoa to fall onto the open portions of cheese - so you are filling in the gaps with a fine dusting not thick mounds.

10. Carefully lift the cocoa covered paper strips and discard. The bowl should now have little diamonds or squares of cocoa powder alternating with white squares or diamonds.

11. Preferably chill for a few hours to allow flavors to mellow.

This is very rich so only give small portions. Coffee and liqueur is probably too much for most children.


PLEASE NOTE THAT SUBSTITUTIONS AND DIFFERENT METHODS WILL AFFECT FINAL TASTE.
© 2005 Royal Temptations


Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.
 
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