Monday, May 4, 2009


Have you ever created a masterpiece on the first try and found yourself having mixed feeling of sharing or not to share? If I keep this here, I will be in it constantly and if I share, there might not be any leftovers for me to get into later. If I make this again, I will sooooo eat it all! The aroma of the double shots of espresso, the chocolate, the everything....just amazing! If anyone ventures to make the decadent Tiramisu, get the Siovanna ladyfingers if you can. A crisp and airy ladyfinger with a single layer of sugar crystals covering the top. The espresso seeps right in "but" you need to scoop the ladyfinger out of the espresso immediately or the ladyfinger will instantly disintegrate.

I have never made a Tiramisu before and I just had to after watching the movie "No Reservations". Love that movie. Another reason coincided with the movie reason and that is a specific young man at work that loves his Italian family's cooking and challenges me to beat one dish or another. Makes my eye twitch. Hence, at work, we now have Crew Lunch Fridays. I bring the main dish and everyone else on the crew brings side munchies. I'll have to post the 2 day lasagna later that actually took 3 days because I did the process after getting home late every evening during the week....just to have it done in time for the Friday lunch thing. The young man's name is Paz, short for Pasquel, and I keep telling him I can try to re-create a specific Italian dish but no one is going to make a better dish that he loves because his Grandmother and Mother have created the dish for him since he was a child. The dish is tried-and-true, directly from Italy. I would love to say I was born Italian and had the gift, but no, I have had to cheat and do some mad researching from the true pros with written recipes. Although, I have altered, to put my own touch on things. Back to the tiramisu.

I have researched recipes for several years, only to find a multitude of variation. I wanted to try the authentic "one" and yet, at the end, I felt like dumping the whole lot of recipes in the garbage and creating my own. I didn't. I mean Throwing a perfectly good, untried recipe away? The thought is too hideous to think about.

Gale Gand is my hero! She was one of the first chef's on Food Network, when the program started out. I absolutely love her recipes and have not madea bad one yet. I made her version of the tiramisu and everyone that tried the dessert thought there could be no better...Including Paz! I would also like to add here that the recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of espresso. PLEASE do not skimp or the flavor will be weak. I asked for 10 double shots of espresso and the dessert was not overpowering in the least. Perfecto! Also, as mentioned earlier, Siovanna ladyfingers are the best. We have a grocery chain in the NW called Fred Meyers and this particular store actually carried mascarpone cheese with espresso in it. I could not believe my eyes. Of course I bought 3 containers. The containers were small and just the right amount for the recipe. Since I made this, all I can think about is making it again. Now that is a good dessert!

(adapted from chef Gale Gand)
7 yolks
1 cup sugar for yolks
3 cups or 1 (750-gram) container mascarpone
4 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar for whites
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 1/2 cups cooled espresso
1/2 cup kalhua
20 to 24 ladyfingers
1 cup chocolate shavings

In a mixer with the whip attachment, whip yolks and sugar until thick and pale in color (ribbon stage). Add mascarpone and whip until well incorporated. Pour water into a small bowl then pour powdered gelatin over it. Do not stir. Allow gelatin to absorb all of the water (about 15 minutes) then place the bowl on top of a small saucepan containing simmering water (creating a double boiler). Immediately turn off the heat and allow the gelatin to dissolve completely. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to a soft peak, gradually add sugar, then slowly pour in dissolved gelatin. Whip to a stiff, glossy peak. Fold whites into mascarpone and yolk mixture then fold in whipped cream.

In a separate bowl, combine espresso and kalhua. Soak 1 ladyfinger at a time in the espresso mixture. In an 8 by 10-inch pan, arrange soaked ladyfingers close together in neat rows until the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Pour 1/2 of the mousse over the ladyfingers and smooth with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chocolate shavings over mousse. Create another layer and chill until set.

Keeping my fingers out of the dessert before getting it to work was next to possible. I used a spoon instead.