Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tiramisu with Homemade Leprechaun (lady) fingers

Ever since I got The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather's cookbook, I have been dying to make one of my favorite desserts, Tiramisu.  I have made Tiramisu before using a different recipe, with store bought lady fingers and it was pretty good, but I wanted to try and give it a go of making my own.

Tiramisu with Homemade Ladyfingers (The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)
Makes 18-20 servings
Ladyfingers (You can always use store-bought if you prefer):
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting the ladyfingers, plus extra for dusting the baking sheets
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Soaking Syrup:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder ( I used strong coffee)
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (I used 1/8 cup Godiva and 1/8 cup Bailey's)
  •  1/4 cup dark rum, (I used Sailor Jerry's)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Filling:
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 (16-ounce) tub mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (I used strong coffee)
  • Dark cocoa powder or grated bittersweet chocolate, for dusting

To make the ladyfingers: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12 x 17-inch baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the paper with a light coating of powdered sugar. 

Separate your eggs, Yolks in one bowl and whites in another.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and the vanilla in a large bowl on high speed about 5 minutes, until the yolks become thick and pale yellow. In my case, green, I added blue food coloring for St. Patrick's Day. 

In a separate clean, large bowl, use a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition.

 Fold the egg white mixture gently into the egg yolk mixture. Use a sieve to gently sift the flour over the batter. 

Gently fold in the flour just until incorporated.

The directions in the recipe said to pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheets using a pastry bag, making each ladyfinger about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. However, I used my cookie scoop and made Lady circles. I'll admit,  I was being lazy.  I baked them for about 10 minutes, until they were lightly browned. When they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with powdered sugar using a sieve.  



 I also did an experiment and made a lady sheet cake.  My thinking was why can't you cut it into rectangles after you bake it.  It should still taste the same and it is covered with the filling anyway.  



Cool for 5 minutes and use a spatula to transfer them from the baking sheet to the cooling racks.





To make the soaking syrup: Simmer the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan set over medium heat about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the espresso powder, liqueur, rum, and vanilla. Set aside to cool.
To make the filling: Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl on high speed.  

Add the mascarpone and beat on medium speed just until incorporated. Mascarpone tastes like a whipped cream cheese that has been lightly sweetened.  

Combine the boiling water and espresso powder in a small bowl. Stir 1/4 cup of the cooled soaking syrup and 1 tablespoon of the espresso liquid into the filling.

Spoon half of the cream cheese mixture into a medium bowl. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of espresso liquid into the second bowl of cream cheese mixture. 

You will have 1 bowl of light brown cream cheese filling and 1 bowl of dark brown cream cheese filling (from the addition of extra espresso liquid).
To assemble the tiramisu: Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Dip both sides of 1 ladyfinger in the cooled soaking syrup and place in the bottom of the pan. Repeat with more ladyfingers (lady-circles) and syrup to line the whole pan. 


Spoon the light-colored cream cheese mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth gently with a spatula.




Cover with a second layer of dipped ladyfingers.




Spoon on the dark-colored cream cheese mixture and smooth the top as before. You may not use all of your ladyfingers.
Use a fine-mesh sieve to dush the top with a light dusting of dark cocoa, or sprinkle grated bittersweet chocolate evenly over the top.




Cover the tiramisu and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight (overnight is better). Serve cold from the refrigerator. Cut in squares and serve with a spatula.


The Tiramisu was delicious! It was very rich and sweet, but I will definitely make it again.  As for the homemade ladyfingers,  I will probably save the hour and buy them at the store.  I figure the only reason someone would make them, is so they can say they made them.  



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