Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Homemade Tiramisu, because . . . 

la vita è breve - mangiare dolci!

2/3 C espresso very strong-brewed coffee
1/2 C sugar (I used powdered because I was out of granulated, it dissolved well)
1/4 C Kahlua (coffee flavored liquor) or dark rum (I used dark rum)
Mix the sugar into the brewed espresso or coffee. Mix well to dissolve and set aside to cool.  Once cooled, add the liquor and set aside.
Note: I brewed a strong cup of coffee on the espresso cup setting on my Keurig. It made the perfect amount of coffee.
Cream Filling:
1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/3 C powdered sugar      
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 lb (16 oz tub) mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 lb savoiardi (Italian lady fingers) (Recipe follows)
cocoa powder (unsweetened for baking) or chocolate shavings, for topping

Whip the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form.  Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Beat mascarpone cheese until smooth and soft.  Fold whipped cream into the softened mascarpone cheese.

Place a layer of the lady fingers in the bottom of a shallow 2 quart baking dish or spring form pan.
Spoon half of the coffee syrup over the lady fingers, making sure they are all evenly coated. 

Spread half of the cheese filling over the layer of lady fingers.
Repeat another layer of lady fingers, coffee syrup, and remaining cheese filling.
Use a knife or a flat spatula to spread the top smooth.
Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving. (as little as three hours is fine)
Before serving, dust top with cocoa, or top with shaved chocolate.

Savoiardi (Italian Ladyfingers)      

1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 C potato starch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
Optional: Add 1 T gluten free flour mix to the starches to make the batter a little stiffer for piping.  All-purpose flour may be used if not concerned with gluten free cookies.
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar (breaks down the protein to help eggs whip faster)
3 egg yolks
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp water
Preheat oven to 375*.  Line 2 or 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Measure and mix the cornstarch, potato starch, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a bowl and set aside.
Whip the whites with salt lemon juice / white vinegar to form soft to medium peaks. Remove to another bowl and set aside.
In mixer bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and water. Blend until very, very smooth.
Fold reserved dry ingredients into yolk mixture, thoroughly folding to avoid lumps. 
Gently fold in whites until fully combined, taking care not to deflate egg whites too much.
Fill a plastic zip-top sandwich or storage bag with batter. (see tip below)
Diagonally cut off a 1/4-inch corner of the bag to use as a piping bag. (if you have a pastry/piping bag, use that)
Tip: Place the empty sandwich bag inside a wide mouth drinking glass, mug or jar.  Fold the bag’s edges over the outside of the glass/mug/jar.  This keeps the bag upright and makes it easier to fill with the batter.  Pull the bag part-way out of the glass/mug/jar when it’s half full in order to continue filling the bag.
Pipe out 3-inch long finger shapes onto a parchment (or silpat) lined cookie sheet, approximately half an inch apart, allowing room for cookies to spread.
Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden at 375*.
Allow to cool slightly before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Depending on the size of the ladyfingers, this recipe will make 24-40 ladyfingers.  If they are longer than 3 inches, it makes about 24. Smaller ones will yield up to 40. 
This recipe usually makes about 30, enough to fill a 9-inch spring form pan with 2 layers of ladyfingers for tiramisu.