I haven’t been cooking or food blogging lately. So, I’ve decided to go through my archives and repost some of my earlier posts, from the days when I started learning to cook and bake (I’m still learning). It certainly brings back good memories.
Tiramisù was the very first dessert that I made on my own. I learned how to make it from one of my favorite books, The Food of Love by Anthony Capella. After my success, I felt encouraged to continue trying other recipes. For the new readers who don’t know, that’s how The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz began.
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First Posted August 19, 2005
I try the tiramisù recipe in the back of The Food of Love first and am so tickled with delight when it comes out exactly, if not better than the one that I order from my neighborhood Italian café. I can’t believe my taste buds – to think that I made it myself! I’m on cloud nine.
Beat 5 egg yolks with about 2/3 cup sugar until the later has dissolved and the mixture is light and fluffy. (It should leave a trail when it drops from the whisk.) Add about 8 ounces mascarpone and beat until smooth. Whisk the egg whites in a separate glass bowl until peaks form. Fold into the mascarpone mixture.
Pour about 8 ounces of very strong ristretto and 3 tablespoons of brandy/marsala into a wide dish. Soak about 40 lady fingers in this mixture, but don’t let them fall apart. Pack about half of them into the base of a serving dish. Then add a layer of the mascarpone mixture, then a layer of lady fingers, then more mascarpone. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Dust with grated chocolate before serving.
I’m not familiar with some of the ingredients like the mascarpone cheese, Marsala, and ristretto. I get the answers from friends who cook and the food dictionary. From the book, I learn about ristretto, which is described in the beginning of the story as “made with the same amount of ground coffee as an ordinary espresso but half the amount of water.”
Great! Now that I have my answers, I’m ready to go food shopping. Surprisingly, everything is easy to find. The mascarpone, which I’d never heard of before, has always been on the shelf near the ricotta and cream cheese section in the supermarket. It’s in abundance. I know where to look for it in the future.
I find the lady fingers in a neighborhood food store, called Milano, that sells Italian food products and I buy the Marsala from the neighborhood wine store.
I’m ready to make my tiramisù!
Everything goes accordingly until I get to the instructions – “Whisk the egg whites in a separate glass bowl until peaks form. Fold into the mascarpone mixture.”
I have no idea what that means. “Whaddya’ mean ‘fold’?” I lament aloud in consternation.
After a while, I shrug my shoulders and mix the ingredients. I later find out that folding is a gentler way of mixing the ingredients so that the air formed in the egg white peaks aren’t destroyed (something like that)… Ahhh! So, now, I fold when told to fold.
I use regular coffee instead of the ristretto because that’s what I have in the kitchen. Also, I use Marsala instead of brandy.
It is the best-tasting tiramisù I’ve had – made by my own hands (my own hands!). Who would’ve imagined it!?