Sunday, February 28, 2010

TIH-RUH-MEE-SOO - The Daring Bakers Challenge

Tiramisu - Heaven in your mouth..
Also known as "Tuscan Trifle," the dessert was initially created in Siena, in the northwestern Italian province of Tuscany. The occasion was a visit by Grand Duke Cosimo de'Medici III, in whose honor the concoction was dubbed zuppa del duca (the "duke's soup"). The erstwhile duke brought the dessert back with him to Florence. In the 19th Century, zuppa del duca became popular among the English intellectuals and artists who lived there Consequently, it is also known as zuppa Inglese. They took the dessert to England, where its popularity grew. Zuppa del duca eventually made its way to Treviso, just northwest of Venice, in the northeastern province of Veneto.

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


We have chosen Baltimore pastry chef Carminantonio Iannaccone’s version of tiramisu for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, his recipe is different from most other tiramisu recipes as he makes a zabaglione, an egg custard which is flavored with Marsala wine (you may use coffee instead). Even more important is that his zabaglione is cooked so there is no risk from using raw eggs.

He also makes a vanilla flavored pastry cream which we haven't seen in other tiramisu recipes.

While both of us do eat eggs, we do have a preference for desserts where the smell and taste do not come through. We found that the coffee in the recipe masked the eggs in adequately.

Just in case you would prefer to make an eggless tiramisu, we are including recipes in the Alternate Bakers section to make eggless ladyfinger biscuits and an eggless and alcohol-free tiramisu.

Note: There are also some links to other alternative recipes at the end of this post. Deeba has also provided step-by-step pictures where possible.

The recipes for this challenge are presented in the following order:

A. Tiramisu (includes zabaglione & vanilla pastry cream)
B. Mascarpone Cheese
C. Ladyfinger/ Savoiardi Biscuits


(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

Usually my Tiramisu Recipe is lighter than this version. I buy the Italian Lady Fingers, it was on my to do list to try the home made version... Thanks very much Deeba and Aprana for giving me the chance to do prepare everything from scratch. Thanks for choosing a delicious dessert recipe.. The flavours are divine...

For the coffee mix I added around 1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur to balance the coffee flavour.

P.S.: I lent my smaller springform pan to a friend, and end up using a square 9 x 9 springform pan. the cake came thinner than intended, only got two layers out of the lady fingers. A smaller pan will be better. Do try the cake its awesome in every bite... use an 8 inch pan or even a rectangular bread pan will do if you line the cake with plastic wrap to make it easy to lift the cake after.


Rachana Kothari said...

Yummy Tiramisu! Who can say no to such a tempting dessert:)

Aparna said...

Looks very good. I didn't have a square pan if proper size, so I made mine round! :)
Thanks for baking with us.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

You did a great job! That tiramisu looks delicious and I love the decorations!



Saveurs et Gourmandises said...

Bravo, un tiramisu très réussi.
la décoration est vraiment au top.
A bientôt.

Angie's Recipes said...

Oh yep...I adore Tiramisu prepared in all different methods. I like to use coffee liqueur instead of Marsala.

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Barbara Bakes said...

Wow! Your flowers are beautiful! Great job on this challenge!

tasteofbeirut said...

Excellent! I wish I could have a bite of that tiramisu!

Lisa Michelle said... tiramisu is beautiful and those chocolate roses and leaves are stunning, making an already lovely dessert even more beautiful. Awesome in every way! *hugs*

Mary said...

You really did a marvelous job with this challenge. Your leaves and flowers are quite lovely. Kudos. Have a great day...Mary

Kathleen said...

Oh my gosh your chocolate roses are amazing! Fabulous job!! Wasn't it the best tiramisu you've ever tasted?!

Arlette said...

Hello Ladies
thank you very much for stopping by and leaving nice comments.
Indeed this was an amazing challenge. Thanks to Deeba and Aprana

Elra said...

Wow, I can believe you made that chocolate roses. They are beautiful! Well done on this month challenge.

amal said...

hummmm!! wonderful!
well done Arlette
I like Tiramisu so much, miam miam...
Take care