Herein I set out to create the ultimate tiramisu – everything is basically from scratch. The cheese, the creme, the lady fingers. I tried to use the best ingredients and recreate that richness and subtlety of secondary flavor that is the hallmark of great Italian desserts.
By far the most complex thing in real Tiramisu (which is a complex 2-3 day dessert) is the creme filling. It consists of four different components:
Mascarpone is one of the simplest cheeses going, although it’s certainly tasty enough. It has basically two ingredients: cream and lemon juice. In this case, you heat heavy cream (pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized, as the ultra is dead and can’t make cheese) slowly to 180 degrees, turn off the heat, and add lemon juice (about one lemon worth for this quart of creme).
It will rapidly curdle and turn into cheese. You stir slowly and then chill for a couple of hours.
And viola, Mascapone. Technically, one is supposed to squeeze out the whey. I’ve never been able too. It’s always so thick. It basically tastes like fresh creme with a lemony flavor.
Zabaione (sabayon in French) is an eggy custard with a delectable subtle lemon and masala flavor.
It’s basically sugar, lemon rind.
Masala wine and vanilla extract. These are key (along with the lemon) to adding that Italian factor.
You mix them together and cook over a double boiler.
The stuff is fantastic by itself, like what a Cadbury egg center SHOULD taste like (but doesn’t).
The Pastry Cream
The third of four components to the tiramisu cream, a thick pastry cream.
Very similar ingredients to the Zabaione, but adds milk and flower.
It’s basically a sweet egg/milk custard.
And becomes the stuff that those yummy French pastries are stuffed with.
Here you can see the dueling cremes.
The cookies inside the tiramisu are “lady fingers,” basically a light eggy sugar cookie (you may be noticing an ingredient theme here).
I baked up a bunch of them. Once all these ingredients are ready (and I did them the day before) it’s time for the assembly.
But, where’s the coffee? You need to dip the lady fingers in something…
and in this case a mixture of sugar, rum, and expresso (fresh brewed). For good measure that bottle of Gosling’s Dark Rum (which we bought in Bermuda) had a whole fresh Tahitian vanilla bean shoved inside… in 2001! By now, it’s had time to really absorb the flavor.
Oh, and because Mascarpone, Zabaione, and pastry creme isn’t quite creamy enough, we need to throw in some completely fresh whipped creme!
Blend in the Zabaione, and pastry creme.
Now I took the lady fingers, hand dipped each one in the expresso mix and layered them in the casserole.
Then put on a layer of the creme/cheese mixture, another layer of cookies, more creme, more cookies, more creme.
Then dusted the top with high end cocoa powder. Place in the fridge for 12+ hours to chill and set.
And a closeup of the cross section in the pan. That white stuff might look like simple whipped creme, which is what lame tiramisus use, but you know better. It has this wonderful rich, creamy, cheesy, lemony, vanilla, marsala, eggy taste. Wow! Everyone who tried it was unanimous in declaring it “the best tiramisu ever” and several went so far as to call it “organismic” or “best desert ever!”
If you want to try it yourself, I basically used this really hardcore recipe online.sharethis_button(); ?>