Arsip Tag: tiramisu
Last Saturday was my darling Jocelyn’s birthday and you just know I wasn’t going to even think about showing up without birthday cake. Fortunately, just about everyone we know agrees that two of the best desserts on earth are cannolis from Venieros on First Avenue and homemade tiramisu. I was actually kind of obsessed with figuring out a way to make a cannoli cake, but in the end copped out, not feeling daring enough to invent a recipe and having waited until the very last minute (3 p.m.) to actually start baking.
Not for the first or last time, Dorie Greenspan came to the rescue. As if Baking: From My Home to Yours wasn’t awesome enough, it actually includes two cake sections, one devoted solely to “Celebration Cakes,” or the exact type you’d want to bring to a birthday party. But all are so much more exciting than just yellow cake and butter cream frosting, such as Black and White Chocolate Cake, Big Carrot Cake, Perfect Party Cake and Tiramisu Cake. I stopped right there, and started this:
Which ended up like this:
And was received like this:
I’m very particular about tiramisu, by the way. It’s one of my favorite desserts yet most times I order it, I find it disappointing. Typically, I don’t think there is enough of a recognizable coffee flavor to it. I think it tastes best with marsala or brandy, not Kahlua. Often the tiny cakes are not soaked enough. I think that the chocolate layers should be a bed of almost crinkly shaven very bitter chocolate. This cake, however, knew I was coming and made everything just right. And the guest of honor? It looks like she concurred. I couldn’t be more proud.
[Photo by our friend Lexxie.]
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the cake layers:
2 cups (255 grams) cake flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons or 140 grams)) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons (30 ml) boiling water
For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)
For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce (225 grams) container mascarpone
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (15 ml) amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)
1 cup (235 ml) cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To make the cake:
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.
To make the extract:
Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.
To make the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.
To make the filling and frosting:
Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.
To assemble the cake:
If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.
With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa. I cut a star shape out of waxed paper and placed it lightly over the cake, and shaved a layer of chocolate over it with a microplane, before carefully removing the star to leave a stenciled shape.
Please tell me this doesn’t just happen to me: You know when you love a dish so much, you don’t even want to risk ordering it when you’re out because it’s so often disappointing? Hopeless child of the 80s and 90s that I am, tiramisu is a top five dessert for me but I almost never eat it for this messy reason. At its finest, little bits of cake are almost saturated with bracing espresso then burrowed in a cream that’s ethereally light and fluffy for containing an unholy amount of mascarpone and dusted generously with cocoa or shaved unsweetened chocolate between each layer. The sum of the parts isn’t overly sweet but quite rich, ideal in small doses. It is heaven.
The obvious solution would be to make it at home, and pre-kids and pre-this-site, we did this often. Pretty much any dinner party we had was an excuse to fine-tune my recipe and if you told me there was some not-so-distant future when I would realize it had been almost a decade since I last made it, I would have thought you’d gone off the deep end. But here we are and the reality is that good tiramisu, the only kind I want to bother with, contains the following not exactly child-friendly or child-incubation-friendly things:
Very strong espresso
Marsala or rum, or both, you lucky thing
Raw eggs, several
… Which has severely cramped my tiramisu intake over the last 8 or so years. It’s funny, I am completely okay with making something for dinner my husband and I want to eat that the kids might hate (it helps to wear earplugs to drown out the complaints) (just kidding!) (kinda) but a big pan of a chocolate-dusted dessert that the kids can’t touch? Even by my standards, that’s excessively cruel. [“Yay! You made chocolate pudding with cake in it!” “Not for you, dear.”]
But I finally found my solution: small-batch tiramisu, that is, utterly perfect, completely uncompromised tiramisu made and served in small enough cups for an occasional luxury but not so much that two adults end up eating a casserole dish of triple cream. Furthermore, they’re so tiny and funfetti-free, the little people might not even notice that you’re not sharing.
One year ago: Belgian Brownie Cakelets
Two years ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic and Pecan Sticky Buns
Three years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Four years ago: Italian Stuffed Cabbage
Five years ago: Lasagna Bolognese
Six years ago: White and Dark-Hearted Brownies
Seven years ago: Walnut Jam Cake, Ginger Fried Rice and An Obsessive Spice Rack
Eight years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes, Crispy Black Bean Tacos and Whole Lemon Tart
Nine years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares, 7-Yolk Pasta Dough and Best Chocolate Pudding
Ten! years ago: Sour Cream Bran Muffins
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chile-Lime Melon Salad and Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Rapsberry Crushed Ice
2.5 Years Ago: Blueberry Crumb Cake and Cold Noodles with Miso Lime and Ginger
3.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles and Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
4.5 Years Ago: Charred Pepper Steak Sauce and My Favorite Brownies
- 24 ladyfingers (savioardi) cookies (storebought or from recipe below)
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 8.8-ounce (250 ml) package mascarpone
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) sweet or dry marsala
- 1 cup (235 ml) strong, warm espresso coffee
- A couple tablespoons of your favorite cocoa powder, for sifting over
In a larger bowl, using same beaters, beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in mascarpone cheese until combined, and continue beating another minute for extra fluff. Beat in marsala until smooth. Gently fold in egg whites until combined, trying not to deflate the mixture. It will be a loose, soft, creamy custard.
In a small bowl wide enough to dip cookies into, combine the espresso and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.
To assemble small cups: Dip first cookie in espresso mixture until almost fully saturated but not falling apart. Break in half and place the first half in the bottom of your cup. Spoon 1 generous (I use a measuring spoon, but heaped a little) tablespoon cream over it. Repeat with second half of first biscuit and another spoonful of cream. Dust with cocoa powder. Dip second cookie in coffee and break in half. Place side-by-side over cocoa then top with 2 generous tablespoons cream mixture, which should take you nearly to the top of the cup. Dust with more cocoa. Repeat with remaining cups.
To assemble large cups: Dip first cookie in espresso mixture until almost fully saturated but not falling apart. Break in half and place side-by-side in the bottom of your larger cup. Spoon 2 generous tablespoons (I use a measuring spoon, but heaped a little) cream over and dust with cocoa powder. Dip two biscuits in espresso mixture and break in half. Place 3 of the halves on top of the cocoa powder, cover with another 2 generous tablespoons of cream and cocoa powder. Dip a 4th biscuit in the espresso mixture, break it in half, and place these two halves plus the leftover half from the previous layer on top of the cocoa. Dollop more cream over and repeat with remaining cups.
If you can bear it, let cups chill in fridge overnight to set. Before eating, you can dust them with fresh cocoa powder for a prettier look.
Simplest Ladyfingers (Savioardi)
You can flavor these with 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or 1/8 teaspoon almond extract and a little lemon or orange zest if you wish.
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2/3 cups (85 grams) all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with the same beaters, beat egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale. Gently fold in egg whites, then fold in flour, trying not to deflate the mixture.
Pour batter into quart-sized freezer bag and snip off end to about a 1-inch opening or a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe cookies into 3-ish inch strips, with a 2 inches between each cookie. Sprinkle each with a pinch of granulated sugar and a light dusting of powdered sugar, then bake cookies until faintly gold and dry to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes (although I found it to take up to 4 minutes more when using a lighter-colored cookie sheet; better to check early). Let cool on tray for a minute then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
If you’re getting a lead on these cookies and won’t need them until the next day, leave them out uncovered so they can dry out as much as possible.
First things first: You might have noticed I made my own savoiardi, not because I cannot get them around here and not because I think your tiramisu will suffer without them. Nope, quite simply, I realized they contained a few as three ingredients and had to see for myself if they were as simple as they sounded. Turns out, they totally are so I’m including the recipe I settled on (after a couple flops, let’s not talk about it) below.
Should you be purchasing ladyfingers, look for crisp ones. I understand that at some point, American-style ones were softer and Italian-style ones were more crisp. (I feel like I only see the latter these days, but should you end up with the former, dry them out in the oven for a bit until they have a snap to them. You want them to be able to absorb.
This recipe is tweaked from one of my favorite cookbooks to curl up with. I talked about it previously here and here. This version is halved, uses a bit less sugar. I used the rum in the coffee but would skip it next time; I think the marsala is sufficient for good flavor.
Marsala is the traditional alcohol in tiramisu. You can use sweet or dry. Sweet is more typical for desserts but I only keep dry around. After reading this from Cook’s Illustrated, I felt confident it would be just as good, and it was. My second choice for tiramisu is rum. I know brandy works fairly well too. I’m not crazy about Kahlua because the dessert itself is naturally flavored with chocolate and coffee, no need to add it artificially when you could just use rum. For both brandy and rum, I might use a touch less because marsala has a lower alcohol content.
As for tweaking this recipe to make it less risky, you could use pasteurized eggs, and at minimum, you should use eggs you’re as confident one can be are fresh. You could use decaf espresso. I am sure someone somewhere skips the booze or uses less. All work. You’re making this for you, not me. But if you’re making it for me, please don’t. And if you’re on the fence about making it this indulgently, do it once and if it’s terrible, you can send all the extras over here.