Apr 11, 2011

Italian-Inspired Desserts, part 1

The thing with book club is this:  you want to be drinking wine and chatting with your ladies the whole evening.  You don't want to be stuck in the kitchen, but you do want to show off your kitchen prowess with delicious food!  Here are two recipes (both from Great Tastes Italian, Bay Books, Murdoch Books Australia, 2009) to help you do just that...

For a bit of extra book club glam, i
served my tiramisu's in martini lasses!
Serves 4-6
5 eggs, separated
180 g castor sugar
250 g mascarpone
250 ml very strong coffee, cold
45 ml brandy or sweet marsala
44 small sponge fingers
80 g dark chocolate, finely grated

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the mascarpone and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean dry glass bowl until soft peaks form.  Fold into the mascarpone mixture.
Pour the coffee into a shallow dish.  Add the brandy.  Dip some of the sponge fingers into the coffee mixture, taking care not to let them become too soft.  Arrange the biscuits in a tightly packed layer to cover the base of a 25 cm square dish.
Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the layer of biscuits.  Add another layer of soaked biscuits and then another of mascarpone.  Neatly smooth the top layer. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
Before serving, dust with the grated chocolate.

My amendments:  Even though i made good quality very strong filter coffee, i found it too watery for the biscuits.  One should either have something more substantial than finger biscuits (less porous) or use a coffee flavour that is more concentrated.  Considering that the finger biscuits are so a part of the tradition of tiramisu, finding a stronger coffee flavour would be the better solution.  When i posed this dilemma to my sister, she suggested the use of coffee liqueur.  I think that that would work very well.  Just drizzling the coffee liqueur over the finger biscuits.  One could then omit the brandy. For a dessert, actually for most dishes, i like to have a contrast of textures on the plate/dish.  With this tiramisu, i would like the fingers to still have a bit of firmness to contrast with the soft smooth custard.  I think that that can be acheived by using liqueur instead of coffee.

Here is another recipe, apparently by the lady who got it from the restaurant that first made tiramisu... only as far back as the 1970's.
I prefer the idea of this one, as the eggs are actually cooked. Can't say that i am a huge fan of the idea of eating raw eggs!  I will definitely give this recipe a try sometime soon (hopefully) and let you all know how it goes!

I've just realised that i've written quite a bit more than initially intended, and i haven't even attached photo's yet!  So i think that we will have to split this story up... Panforte to come tomorrow...

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