Another month and another Daring Baker’s Challenge.
You might remember last month’s challenge, when I made gluten free graham crackers and nainamo bars.
This month was more in my wheelhouse. Tiramisu. From scratch. Oh, I’ve made tiramisu a few times. Traditional with espresso and mascarpone. Not so traditional with strawberries and cointreau. But I’ve always purchased the ladyfingers and the mascarpone. This time, these clever bloggers were challenging me to make my own.
And all this happened during the Week of Eating In, so cooking anyway, and could just divvy up the time for all the different steps involved in tiramisu over the course of a few days. During the week, we were hosting a party for 12, so I thought the heavens had aligned. I wouldn’t have to eat an entire tiramisu by myself. (Dennis likes tiramisu, but doesn’t LOVE it, and has far more self-control than I do.)
The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
Here’s the way I planned my approach.
Tuesday: Mascarpone Cheese – Baking Obsession for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
Wednesday: Savoiardi/ Ladyfinger Biscuits – Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home,
And pastry cream and zabayon from the tiramisu recipe
Thursday: Tiramisu – Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post
I made the mascarpone with the freshest most delicious cream,and the pastry cream and zabayon with beautiful farm fresh eggs
and milk that had just arrived at the market, in the classic glass bottle.
I substituted my homemade walnut wine for the Marsala, adding a spicy Christmas-y kind of undertone to the zabayon.
I brewed decaf espresso. No kidding. I gave up caffiene 10 years ago, and one piece of tiramisu could make me climb the walls if it was fully-caffienated.
I loved making the ladyfingers. Simple and satisfying. Felt like a good skill to have. They’re made from the most basic baking ingredients with no more than a sieve, a bowl, a big rubber spatula for folding, and an electric mixer. While the recipe suggested ladyfingers 5″ long and 3/4″ wide, I found a 3″ x 1″ ladyfinger was prettier and more useful.
I substituted homemade blood orange liqueur whenever the recipes called for vanilla extract.
And I warmed 1/3 c homemade raspberry jam into which I stirred 3 Tbls. orange liqueur, cooled, then poured over the bottom layer of ladyfingers, making this tiramisu a distant cousin to the trifle I made over Christmas.
I formed the tiramisu using a 10″ springform (no bottom pan) right on the platter on which I wanted to serve. I selected perfect small ladyfingers to make the outside layer.
I gave the finished tiramisu a full 24 hours to soak, macerate and develop.
So worth it. So worth it.
At the very least, make the mascarpone. It’s ridiculously easy, and you can stir the leftover into your grits the next day. Or stuff dates. Or do anything you would do with creme fraiche. Use very fresh cream.
By the way, the party was cancelled as there were storms, high winds, and the fear of more snow. I’m so sorry to have missed the chance to chat up the farmers and other members of the CSA, and hope we can reboot in about a month.
So, I have a huge tiramisu. It’s more than delicious, it tastes like the labor of love it is. If you are in the neighborhood, give me a call and come have a piece of tiramisu, and please please save me from eating the whole thing.
Here are some additional photos. The recipes are all linked.