Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I have never tasted a dessert with so much variation than the Tiramisu.
I have had dozens of them. Each different, even when made by the same people. More cream, less coffee, more alcohol, less mascarpone - after eating my fair share I seem to have narrowed down my likes.
Mascarpone rather than cream. I prefer the denser and substantially creamy texture much more. When it comes to the fingers, it has got to be savoiardi. Coffee? Yes, but don't overdo it, something like a vanilla blend not a face-slappingly strong and bitter espresso. Alcohol, definitely, it needs that kick. I am open to the type, I have had Marsala (a firm favourite), Kahlua (not bad) & Tia Maria (probably the least favourite). Also, as with the coffee, a light touch please, I don't want to end up face deep in my dessert. Chocolate shavings or coca dusted on top also lands in my 'like' list.
With those specifications made I went on the search for a recipe. What I liked even more about this one is that it whisked the egg yolks, sugar and marsala over a heat, something I have eaten on its on and absolutely love. With everything ticked I was pretty sure this recipe would be perfect.
prep time: 20mins (using store bought fingers).
cooking time: 3 hours at least in the fridge.
total: 3 hours & 20mins.
taste: 4/5. Quite nice, however the original picture and my result look nothing alike.
First of all, the mascarpone mixture was not snow white, more of a pale yellow in colour.
Next, the texture was smooth and silky right up until I added the egg whites, then it got a little 'foamy'. Not sure what I did wrong there, I beat my eggs only to soft peaks as instructed, but it made the mixture a little too airy.
In terms of taste, the biscuits (I used store bought) were perfectly soaked without being soggy, they are faintly soft but firm, spiked with sweet Marsala and bitter coffee with a tinge of vanilla from the beans I used. They helped to cut through the rich mascarpone mixture, mildly sweet and soft, but not cream-cheese smooth, more like a mousse I guess. The dark chocolate sprinkled on top punctuates perfectly. Although it is not overly sugary, it is still a rich dessert. Whilst I enjoyed it, I was wishing the mascarpone had been smoother with a little more weight.
would I make it again: Yes - I wanted the Tiramisu in the picture, smooth white mascaprone, not pale yellow and airy. Might add a little less Marsala next time to the yolks as well.