Is anyone else tired of the crummy weather already? One day, it is in the 60s and I am sweating at night in my flannel pjs. The next, it is a frigid 24 degrees with sleet pounding down from the sky. It is gross and I’m tired of it. Who do I have to feed to make it stop?
On a positive note, the holidays are coming around and I feel relatively settled in the new apartment. No longer is every weekend spent busy things that we need or stocking the pantry. While we can’t yet host people, a new couch is on its way and then we can party at home. In the meantime, we have been making the rounds, visiting friends who have been neglected since the summer.
Amongst the things that we have discover here at Fictional Kitchen are a newly rediscovered love of espresso and a fondness for soft-boiled eggs. But espresso takes the center stage here fortunately, though eggs are involved. Tiramisu seemed like an appropriate grown-up dessert to bring to friends while remaining ridiculously easy.
Basically, it’s all about using quality ingredients. I substituted Biscotti di Novara for the more traditional savoiardi because I had them and I like them better. It creates a higher creme to cookie ratio. I imagine that since it has so much in common with a trifle, you could use sponge cake, though take care that it is a little stale. Of course, there are innumerable variations with chocolate mascarpone creme or orange juice soaked cookies. However, there is a reason for the classic recipe: it is simply the best. It certainly knocked me out of my grey day blues!
Adapted from Giallo Zafferano
Since this recipe isn’t really “cooked,” it’s important to verify the freshness of your eggs. You can do so by placing them in a tub of water. If they sink to the bottom, they are fresh! You can also change make the dish more adult by adding liquors to the espresso such as rum, Marsala, or Kahlua. Simply reduce the amount of espresso to compensate.
1/2 c sugar (120 g)
8 oz mascarpone (250 g)
1 c espresso, cooled
just under 1 lb lady fingers (400 g) [I used about 60 cookies]
cocoa powder and chocolate curls, to decorate
Begin by separating the egg yolks and whites. In a very clean and dry bowl, beat the whites until they form soft peaks. Add 1/4 c of the sugar to the bowl while still beating. Do so slowly to prevent graininess. Continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add mascarpone and stir until uniform. Gently fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture. Set aside.
Dip lady fingers in espresso and place a layer in your pan. I used a 10″ spring form but an 8×8 inch pan will probably also work nicely. [If you use the spring form, keep in mind that the tiramisu may leak some while it is setting.] Spread a layer of mascarpone cream about 1 cm thick over the surface of lady fingers, taking care not to crush them. Add another layer of soaked lady fingers and mascarpone cream. Repeat until cream has been used up. You should finish with a layer of cream on top.
Sprinkle the surface with cocoa powder and chocolate curls until decorated to your satisfaction. Allow to rest for at least 2 hours before serving. Unmold if using spring form and serve.