I have a bad habit of saying yes. I say it often, and sometimes without thinking, but always with the best of intentions and for the best reasons. So when my loving family requests delicious treats, the answer has always been and will always be “yes”.
Last week I got an e-mail from HRAuntie asking me to make a tiramisu for my uncle’s birthday. What I learned is that there are many many versions of tiramisu; some are authentic to the point of snobbery, some are corrupted to the point of inedibility.

Did you know?:  “Tiramisu” means “pick me up” in Italian

Any recipe that listed cream cheese as an ingredient was discarded immediately.  I also debated between an uncooked custard vs a cooked zabiglione-like filling,  deciding on an uncooked custard because it’s easier more traditional.
I dug for a couple of days before deciding on this recipe, mostly because it contained the following:

Don’t use American coffee in place of espresso. If you do use coffee, don’t call the result tiramisu, because it is not, and don’t tell anybody where you got the recipe. I’ll deny it…Starbucks doesn’t make any coffee that is even remotely close to Italian espresso. Don’t bother trying to use it.
…Make the espresso and poor [sic]  it into shallow flat-bottomed bowl. Add one shot of cognac, one teaspoon cocoa, and allow to cool to room temperature. If at this point you’ve decided to use coffee instead of espresso, take the coffee you’ve made and drink it. Then make espresso

So snotty! But so funny; it sounds like something I would write. I admire the commitment to tradition but I can barely get measurements right,  much less specific ingredients was not traipsing through the tri-state for expensive espresso i’ll never use again, so this dude can stuff it.

StY adjustments: Frangelico coffee instead of regular espresso, Kahlua instead of cognac, 1/2 amt of liquor than original recipe.
Lessons learned: Don’t double untested recipes, you’ll just end up with a  #@$@load of dessert. Candy chocolate does not make for a proper chocolate sauce (too much fat/oil).

Hazelnut  Tiramisu 
Please note these are the proper measurements, not the cafeteria-sized double recipe that I made. 

  • 6 eggs, separate
  • 2 packages savoiardi lady fingers
  •  Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 shots (2 oz) Kahlua
  • 8 espresso sized cups of coffee (about 14 oz)
  • 4 Tablespoons powdered unsweetened cocoa.
  • 2oz coffee syrup

Whip the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Blend in mascarpone and 1oz Kahlua In a separate very cold bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks. This will take some time, just keep it up. FOLD egg yolks into egg whites. Don’t stir, don’t mix, don’t whip – fold, so you don’t deflate the egg whites. At this point your arm is sore and you have a huge bowl of fluffy raw eggs. Take a deep breath, stop cursing me out, and look around for that other shot of Kahlua.

In a shallow dish, mix the coffee with remainder of Kahlua, coffee syrup, and cocoa powder. Dip the savoiardi briefly sugared side up then lay in the dish sugared side down. If the cookies look a bit dry sprinkle more of the coffee mixture on. Assemble in layers – cookies, custard, cookies, custard, until the dish is full. Sift cocoa on top of the whole deal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

Carman likes, well, cars, so I cut a stencil and sifted the cocoa around it. , then filled in the shape with dark chocolate. Stumble: I was rushing and grabbed mint candy chocolate for the sauce by mistake. Serviceable, but not ideal. If I could do it again i’d make a hazlenut ganache and pipe on while warm.

Hazelnut Ganache

1 part heavy cream
1 part Nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread)
2 parts dark chocolate
Heat the cream and pour atop the Nutella and chocolate. Let rest for a few minutes until chocolate is softened, then stir to blend. Use warm as a sauce or pipe as decoration; it will harden when cooled.

Next time I would like to make my own savoiardi and make a day earlier so it has time to set up more, but I think this was a decent first effort.
Happy Birthday, Unc! Love you lots ❤  (Ka-doosh!)

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