February 24, 2010

Long Awaited Tiramisu!

Now that I'm back in London, I'm finally getting around to clearing my backlog of posts. First up, the Tiramisu recipe that I promised.

I was looking at the stuff in my fridge just before I  left for Singapore and realised most of the perishables, which I would have otherwise thrown away, could make me a tiramisu! Or rather, I could make one with them. Now, I've not made a tiramisu in ages and I remember poring through a ton of recipes the last round before I adapted a few to my liking. Being a purist, I don't like the recipes that simply call for whipping mascarpone and/or cream together for the filling. Real tiramisu filling should be lightened with beaten egg whites and egg yolks. I do, however, condone the use of store-bought lady's fingers though to be honest, I don't like the orangey-vanilla taste that most lady's fingers have. I find that it distracts from the coffee and chocolatey goodness.

Anyway, I didn't have any lady's fingers but I did have a ton of eggs (which were meant for my Big Macaron Experiment which has still not been carried out) that were calling out to be used. So I decided to make my own sponge. This sponge is from my Christophe Felder's patisserie book (adapted recipe reproduced below) and it really soaked up the coffee well. Since I had creme fraiche in the fridge instead of cream, I used that instead and it didn't detract very much from the taste (and teeny weeny bit healthier than double cream).

Tiramisu

Tiramisu 
makes approximately a 6x8 inch container or 2 5x5inch
The recipe below

Biscuit Sponge (adapted from Christophe Felder's recipe)

3 egg whites (approx 100g)
3 egg yolks (approx 60g)
80g caster sugar
75g flour

Filling
2 egg whites (approx 67g)
2 egg yolks (approx 40g)
60g (for egg whites) + 30g (for egg yolks) caster sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
180g creme fraiche
1 cup coffee
cocoa powder

The recipe below combines some of the steps to minimise the work but if you're using store bought lady's fingers, make sure the quantity of meringue you are making is just for the filling.

Sponge

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Beat all 5 egg whites in stand mixer till soft peaks, adding 140g sugar in batches while continuing to whisk until stiff peaks. This should yield 280g of meringue (I don't know where the 30g of ingredients went to!). Separate into 2 portions - one 170g (three-fifths) and the other 110g (two-fifths), the latter kept in the fridge until you need to make the filling.

Add 3 egg yolks into the 170g of meringue and whisk on high speed for 5 sec to incorporate.

Fold in the sifted flour gently into the mixture.

Spread onto tray, making sure you will be able to cut out 2 layers for the size of your container afterwards.

Bake at 180 C for 13-14 min, turning the tray about halfway through.

Let cool on rack.

Filling

Whisk 2 egg yolks with 30g of sugar in a bowl set above a pot of simmering water on the stove (bain marie) until it is pale yellow and forms ribbons.

Beat the mascarpone with the creme fraiche in a stand mixer until well incorporated.

Add the egg yolk mixture into the mascarpone mixture and whisk until well incorporated.

Take out the meringue that was made earlier for the filling or make the meringue mixture now if you did not make the sponge. Fold it gently into the mascarpone mixture.

Assembly

Cut the sponge into 2 equal pieces that fits your container, or cut out small pieces for individual portions with 2 layers.

Lay the first layer in your container. Brush the sponge liberally with coffee. Dust with cocoa powder.

Spread half of the filling on top of the first layer.

Place the second layer on top of the filling. Brush liberally with coffee.

Spread the remainder of the filling on top of the second layer and then dust with cocoa powder.

Let it set in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

February 9, 2010

Chinese New Year, Thoughts & Tiramisu!

Happy CNY!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! As you can see, the Christmas tree has given way to a more ching chong red auspicious arrangement of pussy willows, rose hips and amaryllis.

It's been a while since I last posted anything. Very hectic month and even more busy trip back to Singapore thus far due to work. The first month of 2010 has past and there's a lot of thoughts going through my head regarding life direction, career and personal objectives amongst other things. It's not new to me that I have varied interests and have never been able to narrow or focus on one single thing - which results in me being a Jane of all trades but master of none. I like to dabble in this and that, and get a little carried with one area sometimes but then I never really see it through. My phases have included fashion design, floral design, web/graphic design, weddings, interior design and drawing, photography and currently cooking/baking and food styling. One look at my shelf of books and you can see the above themes manifested in the hoard that I accumulate.

Suffice to say that there are many trains of thoughts that need clarifying. I spent most of last night surfing for interior/product/food styling courses. Maybe it's time to take the plunge, or perhaps more like dip the toe into the water. I leave you with the tiramisu I made the other day. My first attempt at tiramisu in a long time and as usual, I had to go choose the most complicated recipe and tweak it. Will post up the recipe next week when I get back to London (recipe notebook left there).

Tiramisu
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