Today when friends gather, the conversation inevitably turns to food and restaurants. At one recent gathering, a friend was heard to say, “I discovered Italy here in America right here in one of our local restaurants. I was served a fantastic dessert. The waiter called it, tiramisu.” I had to smile to myself, as it’s one of our family favorites.
Though it originated in northern Italy, many have discovered this incredible confection appearing on many restaurant dessert menus.. we even recently spotted it in a small French bistro we enjoy. There are many different recipes for this scrumptious dish and as it’s my Valentine’s favorite dessert, I’ll share my version of tiramisu ( which literally means “pick me up”) I made two of these yesterday, one to bring to a friend this weekend and one for my dear hubby. I had to stash it in the refrigerator under a bed of arugula greens so he wouldn’t spot it ..(and knew that would be the least likely place he’d go hunting for his evening snack. :)
30 Savoiardi lady fingers (sponge finger biscuits)
2 cups strong espresso coffee, cooled
½ cup coffee liqueor, rum or brandy
6 oz mascarpone cheese
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
1 pastry cream recipe
2 egg whites
semisweet chocolate shavings
Whip the egg whites to a soft stage. Add mascarpone cheese, 1 tsp sugar and two tsp liqueor of choice. Blend well and fold it into the cooled pastry cream along with 1 cup whipped cream. In an 8 x8 serving dish, place a layer of lady fingers that have been lightly soaked with espresso coffee. Cover this layer generously with the pastry cream mixture and dust the top with cocoa powder and top with a second layer of lady fingers, but this time, lightly soaked in coffee liqueor or brandy. With the remaining cup of whipped cream cover the top of confection in a decorative fashion. Sieve another light dusting of cocoa powder over the whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. I like to make my tiramisu the day before I plan to serve it to give the flavors some time to meld together and set. So cover it and refrigerate until serving time. You can easily make individual ramekins or readily double this recipe for a gang. But no matter which you decide, it’s sure to be a real pick me upper at your table! Enjoy & Happy Valentine’s Day!
This is a perfect all purpose pastry cream that can readily be used for a variety of desserts: eclairs, cream puffs, Napoleans, fruit tarts and even layered cakes, and the cream will also accommodate various flavorings such as almond or anise extracts as well.
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup sifted flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Bring milk to a scalding stage in a double boiler. Beat eggs, sugar and flour together with a whisk and pour it into the scalded milk. Lower the heat and stir with a wooden spoon continuously until thickened. Remove it from heat and add vanilla extract. Allow to cool.