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Making Tiramasu

Making tiramisú actually occured before our weekend with Mom and Dad. However, we have been busy. Better late than never, though, especially when there are pictures of delicious desserts involved.

My husband and I like to cook for fun. Most of our 'cooking for fun' is limited to things that can be cooked on a small budget, but we are also part of an International Dinner Club through our church, which encourages us to branch out of our small budget repertoire. The menus for these dinners are all set. We just get the ingredients and follow the directions.

For an Italian-themed International Dinner Club meal, we were asked to make tiramisú.

Here's the recipe, in case our pictures look so mouth-watering that you want to try it yourself:
Tiramisú

This tiramisú has a pretty pronounced rum flavor; for a less potent rum flavor, halve the amount of rum added to the coffee mixture in step 1. Do not allow the mascarpone to warm to room temperature before using it; it has a tendency to break if allowed to do so. Be certain to use hard, not soft, ladyfingers.

Ingredients

2 ½ cups strong black coffee, room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons instant espresso powder
9 tablespoons dark rum
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 ½ pounds mascarpone cheese
¾ cup heavy cream (cold)
14 oz. ladyfingers (42-60, depending on size)
3 ½ tablespoons cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
¼ cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, grated (optional)

1. Stir coffee, espresso, and 5 tablespoons rum in wide bowl or baking dish until espresso dissolves; set aside.

2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat yolks at low speed until just combined. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1 ½ - 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once or twice. Add remaining 4 tablespoons rum and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20-30 seconds; scrape bowl. Add mascarpone and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30-45 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.

Here are our egg yolks in the bowl (all from local free-range chickens, I might add).

 Here's the massive amount of mascarpone cheese the recipe calls for. Tasty, but spendy.

 And the whole mess all mixed together.

3. In now-empty mixer bowl (no need to clean bowl), beat cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 – 1 ½ minutes. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until cream holds stiff peaks, 1 – 1 ½ minutes longer. Using rubber spatula, fold one-third of whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set mascarpone mixture aside.

4. Working one at a time, drop half of ladyfingers into coffee mixture, roll, remove, and transfer to 13 x 9” glass or ceramic baking dish. (Do not submerge ladyfingers in coffee mixture; entire process should take no more than 2-3 seconds for each cookie.) Arrange soaked cookies in single layer in baking dish, breaking or trimming ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into dish.


5. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers; use rubber spatula to spread mixture to sides and into corners o dish and smooth surface. Place 2 tablespoons cocoa in fine- mesh strainer and dust cocoa over mascarpone.

6. Repeat dipping and arrangement of ladyfingers; spread remaining mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers and dist with remaining 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa. Wipe edges of dish with dry paper towel. Cove r with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 – 24 hours. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, if using; cut into pieces and serve chilled.

Our tiramisú commentary:

We enjoyed this recipe quite a bit. It reminded me a little bit of eating cheesecake, and it was about as rich. Since we had to make it for our International Dinner Club, we had excellent reasons to purchase these more expensive ingredients that we otherwise would not purchase.

Someone from our church gave us the small amount of rum that we needed, however. Rum is otherwise quite expensive. I didn’t care for the rum taste very much. If I made this dessert again, I might very well leave out the rum.

We also used instant coffee, ground more finely, in place of espresso powder, which we did not have on hand.

When it came to sifting cocoa powder over the whole pan at the end, I do not have a fine sifter. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my mesh ball for loose leaf tea could be used in place of a larger sifter. I just scooped about two teaspoons of cocoa powder into the mesh ball and, leaving it open, shook it over the dessert. One less kitchen gadget that I need to invest in!

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