I’d been meaning to make Tiramisu ever since I got back to Pune. Somehow, every time I went to Dorabjee’s, I forgot to buy Mascarpone cheese. And every Friday I’d thought I’d stop by on my way from work, I’d either leave work at 9 pm (by which time they shut) or my mum would call to say they don’t have any in stock.
I figured only last week that my mum had been looking in the wrong section all along. ABC Farms is closer to work than Dorabjee’s is. And I can make a quick trip to ABC Farms, buy the cheese and be back in half an hour. That just seemed to work better this Friday.
And when Shaheen @ The Purple Foodie wrote about her home-made mascarpone cheese experiment followed by the Tiramisu post, I died of happiness. I didn’t even bother looking for another recipe. So yeah, the recipes I’ve used is the one she’s used here.
Of course, I didn’t make my own mascarpone cheese. In retrospect, I think I should have. I’ll explain why as we get along with this post.
Alright! I really can’t help with the not-so-good photography! Besides, it’s a little difficult to lay lady fingers out in a martini glass!
For now, straight to the recipe:
(Savoiardi) Lady Finger Biscuits
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided as two equal portions of 1/4 cup each.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1. Beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar (1/4 cup) until creamy and pale (4 – 5 minutes). Mix in the vanilla extract.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar slowly and continue to whisk until the egg whites look glossy and form stiff peaks.
3. Sieve the flour into the bowl containing the creamy egg yolks and fold it in with a spatula. Then, fold in the whipped egg whites.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390 °F) and line a baking tray with a cookie sheet.
5. Drop the batter out into ladyfinger shapes, about 10 cm/4 inches long, leaving enough space between them as they expand during baking. Bake until they just start to reach a slight golden color, 11 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven.
6. Carefully pull the lady fingers from the mat.
My mum LOVED the biscuits. She insists I look up a recipe for wine biscuits because the colour of these lady finger biscuits reminded her of wine biscuits. Of course, these are fluffy, as opposed to the hard wine biscuits. And no alcohol yet.
500g mascarpone cheese
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided as two equal portions of 1/4 cup each.
1. Beat half the sugar (1/4 cup) with the egg yolks until thick and creamy. Set aside.
2. Whip the mascarpone cheese. To it, add the beaten egg yolks and mix until fully incorporated.
3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites. Whip them until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar slowly and continue to whisk until the egg whites look glossy and form stiff peaks.
4. Gently fold the egg whites into the mascarpone and egg mixture. Refrigerate for a while until it’s ready for assembly.
Here be mascarpone bitching. I bought five 100g packets of the cheese from ABC Farms on Friday afternoon. The cheese was kept refrigerated the whole time, except the 15 mins it took me to get to work from the store and the 45 minute commute from work to home. I wonder if that did the cheese any damage.
The cheese didn’t taste that good. It had a slight sourness to it. Instantly, I looked up a few resources online. Everybody seemed to say that mascarpone is a rich, creamy cheese and that it does not contain any added sugar, it has an inherent sweetness from it’s creaminess. I also read about the double (even triple, in some places) cream cheese – where the acidic content added to the heavy cream helps the whey separate from the cheese. That led me to a few sources that stated that mascarpone cheese, indeed, has a sour tinge to it. And I thought, “Oh well, may be it really *does* taste off when eaten plain. And everything will come together ok.”
And with that, I continued.
1 cup water
2 sachets instant coffee
60 ml kahlua
Mix all the ingredients together to use as the soaking syrup for the sponge fingers.
The mascarpone cheese mixture was a huge bowl-ful and I was worried that I might have some of it left over.
I was also worried about how the tiramisu would set in a way that I could serve it as a slice. The consistency of the cream mixture was thinner than what I had expected it to be. I had thought I’d get something like cookie dough. What I got instead was something cake-batter-esque. But that worked out fine, eventually.
I had one large-ish bowl (some 7-8 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall) and a martini glass, for pictures. *grin* I ended up using both those, and two small bowls (personal servings). The good part was that I didn’t have any of the mixture left over because the number of biscuits and the mascarpone mix together, were worked out to a perfect proportion.
Assembling the Tiramisu:
1. Fill a shallow dish with the coffee solution. Dip the lady fingers in it, for just a second, until it soaks up some of the coffee solution. Don’t dip them in for too long, else they’ll get soggy and fall apart.
2. Set the biscuits into a serving bowl. Cover the biscuits with a layer of the cream mixture and dust with cocoa powder.
3. Lay down the next layer of soaked savoiardi: put them in the opposite direction, crossing the direction of the previous layer. Cover the second layer with the cream.
4. Flatten as you go. Continue in the same fashion until you have filled up your glass/bowl.
5. Finally, sprinkle the tiramisù with cocoa powder and grated chocolate.
6. Let this set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
And then, when we cut it out to eat after dinner, fuck, the coffee soaked biscuits were divine! The consistency of the cheese was good too. It’s just that hint of sourness that bothered me. It felt as if I was eating Tiramisu that way a day old. You know, when you eat cheese cake that’s been sitting around in your refrigerator over night? So I guess the cheese was not fresh. That also means that I am going to try making some mascarpone cheese one of these weekends. Just a small amount. May be a half cup or some such.
Don’t you think the colour of the grated chocolate looks a bit off? Well, fikr not. I grated it too fine. The bar of chocolate is as brown as brown chocolates are.
And finally, a slice of the tiramisu. Looks pretty decent, if you ask me. For all the sourness drama that I put up in this post everybody ate it. And enjoyed it. And there’s only two slices worth left for tomorrow. So it wasn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be then, is it?
But yeah, the mascarpone cheese experiment is going to be carried out soon. Very soon. And some flawless tiramisu will be made (again) then.