Transportive, transportable tiramisu
The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
I’m sitting on the couch with the last jar of tiramisu. I doubled the recipe and made 16 half pints (of these, I ate a serious number myself). I love the combination of the cream and the lady ‘fingers': they way the layers look in the glass, the way the textures harmonize but remain separate, the delicate, lightness of the flavors.
Why was I making tiramisu without so much as a dinner party to serve it at? This was my first Daring Baker challenge and I loved doing it. The hosts of the challenge Aparna and Deeba chose to have the hundreds of participants make Tiramisu based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession. What makes the challenge Daring worthy is that everything is made from scratch including the ladyfinger biscuits, mascarpone, zabaglione and pastry cream! None of these were difficult individually, but it did take some planning to get all the parts ready to assemble and I did it in pieces over a weekend. (Some people had trouble with the mascarpone, but, having read the forum posts I knew not to worry too much about the temperature of the cream and sure enough despite not managing to get it as hot as the recipe instructed it thickened to the perfect texture after a night in the fridge). Other than that, the hardest part was all the dishes!
I made two versions: the traditional, straight from the recipe, and a white chocolate mousse and pear brandy version, garnished with crystallized ginger and white chocolate curls which was inspired by an epicurious recipe, (note to self: white chocolate + ginger = delicious)
I really wanted to make the tiramisu in a glass bowl but I didn’t think I owned anything appropriate: then I looked around the kitchen and saw how many ball canning jars I own and I realised they’d make the perfect vehicle for individual tiramisu servings. One of the benefits of making the lady biscuits from scratch was I could make round disk shaped lady ‘fingers’ that would fit in the jars. I had a bit of a hard time getting them exactly the right size but luckily I found I could easily trim them to size once they had been dipped in espresso.
I was especially pleased to discover that if I didn’t put on the final layer of cream mixture, I could screw on the can lids and it made the dessert easy to carry. Aparna and Deeba described the dessert as transporting one to heaven, but I was much more intent on getting it to the office on the New York City subway. (If you, dear reader, have ever had an accident with a vintage cake carrier and a dozen chocolate butterfly garnished cupcakes, you will know the importance of transportability in a desert dish).
Thanks to Rebecca for introducing me to the Daring Bakers. Now I’m waiting for March 1 to see what the next challenge is: but don’t worry, I’ve got the daring cooks challenge to keep me busy until then!