Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tipsy Tiramisu

This year I had the chance to spend a few days in Italy as part of our grand Euro Trip. I have to admit that, compared to France, Italy was really nothing much, at least from what I saw. I didn’t like them Italian drivers, either – speeding like mad and not indicating whether they would like to take a turn or go straight on, which basically turns the experience of driving along the Italian motorways into complete hell!
Anyways. What I DID like was the food! We spent about two hours in a huge supermarket on or last day in Piacenza, stocking up on all sorts of yummy supplies which are hard or impossible to find in Bulgaria – various kinds of pasta, balsamic vinegar, pickled artichokes, high-class olive oil, etc. Of course, I HAD to buy something sweet – after all, we were looking forward to an eight-hour drive to the Croatian Mediterranean coast, and no sweet for me means no life! So, casually looking at all the different biscuits and cookies, I glanced upon a couple of types of Tiramisu, shyly standing in the refrigerated section of the store. The only really good Tiramisu I had tried before I had got it from here, so I didn’t expect actually anything much. I thought that this was just another hype, the same as Paris – talked about a lot but nothing much really. That’s why I simply bought the cheapest Tiramisu available at the store.

My, oh, my! This turned out to be the most delicious, creamy, moist, sweet, coffee experience I had ever had in my life! It just melted in my mouth and the flavours blended and intertwined, screaming with the wild desire to go back to the store for more! Alas, we had left Italy long before. What I was left with was this amazing taste and the determination that I would have to teach myself how to achieve the same results!
Since then I have thought about this Tiramisu a lot and have read tons of recipes on the Internet, trying to figure out what the secret was and why it was so much better than anything I had tried before or I have tried since. After I started the blog and realized that the secret of my cooking is alcohol, it dawned on me! Of course, the secret to this amazing Italian dessert was also alcohol! Comparing the Italian store-bought version with all the others I have tried, I remembered that the original one seemed to have a lot more alcohol than the rest of them and the Savoiardi were not even one bit dry.

Having that in mind, I woke up on Friday determined that it would be a Tiramisu Day! A bottle of Tia Maria, coffee liquor bought almost unintentionally last month, was the perfect tipsy addition to the coffee I was looking for. Since I didn’t have and didn’t want to put any rum, I relied on my never-failing Jack to give some flavor to the Mascarpone-egg mixture. It performed flawlessly this time, too, as usual!
The recipe I used was the simplest I could find and turned out to be the same as the one printed on the Mascarpone package. If you haven’t noticed, I’m not a huge fan of complicated recipes, calling for a lot of different ingredients or long and tedious techniques such as mixing eggs with cream and sugar over a pot of boiling water. Thanks, but no, thanks!
This Tiramisu turned out wonderful with only Mascarpone, a little sugar (and I mean little), eggs, ladyfingers, coffee, alcohol and some cocoa. I was considering swapping the cocoa on top with grated chocolate but I loved the way the cocoa powder was covering the white top of the dessert, so I decided I would try with chocolate next time.

When I made it, I left it in the fridge for about 24 hours, so that the flavours of the coffee, cheese and alcohol could mix and infuse the ladyfingers with this wonderful Tiramisu feeling. Then we went to have dinner with friends at their place and brought the Tiramisu to try for dessert. Everyone LOVED it! The only negative comment I got was that it was too little! So I’m definitely considering turning this Tiramisu into a staple, quick and easy dessert to make when I don’t really have time to bake or decorate something fancier.
So, here’s the recipe for my Tipsy Tiramisu:

You need:
500 gr. Mascarpone, room temperature (one standard package)
250 gr ladyfingers (quantity may vary a little depending on how thick you make the filling layers)
4 eggs, room temperature
pinch of salt
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp whiskey or dark rum
300 ml black coffee, sweetened, mixed with Tia Maria, Kahlua or any other coffee-based liquor (my mixture was 150 ml coffee and 150 ml Tia Maria but you may reduce the quantity of liquor if you like it less boozy)
some cocoa powder to sprinkle on top

You do:
1.      Separate egg whites from yolks and beat the whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Set aside,
2.      Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add the whiskey or rum and the Mascarpone and beat more, until well mixed.
3.      Fold the egg whites mixture into the Mascarpone mixture with a spatula and set aside.
4.      Dip the ladyfingers into the coffee-liquor mixture and arrange in a layer in individual cups or a larger pan. Then spread some of the Mascarpone mixture over it and cover with another layer of coffee-liquor infused ladyfingers. Spread some more Mascarpone mix on top. You may finish here or do a third layer of ladyfingers and filling, if you like – there is really no way to mess this dessert up! What you should bear in mind is that your last layer should be a Mascarpone-egg one.
5.      Sift some cocoa powder on top of the dessert and leave in the fridge to sit for at least 24 hours.

Best enjoyed with good friends and white wine or an espresso!

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