Tiramisu – A Little Pick Me Up

There are many stories about the origin of this recipe, but the Italians from the Veneto region claim this luscious dessert as their own. I learned to make it from a drop-dead gorgeous chef at a 3-day cooking course I attended in Riva di Garda, Italy almost 20 years ago. Don’t tell Mr BT, but between you and me, the chef could have made boiled newspaper and I would have left that course a happy woman. I have been promising to make this dessert ever since Mr BT and I met almost 10 years ago, and I promised I would make it for Shavuot, but alas he had to go on a business trip abroad. So, I made it, just because.

Tiramisu is a dessert that you make to wow a new boyfriend, bring a smile to your family or friends, or for that romantic candle-lit  dinner with the one you love.

Traditional tiramisu is made with raw eggs and no alcohol, so if you are elderly, sick, or pregnant, you can make a zabaglione, cool it, beat in the mascarpone, and then fold in whipped cream. It is not authentic, but it will still be creamy and delicious.

Tiramisu

Serving Size: 6 to 8

5 very fresh, organic eggs, separated

5 tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar

500g (18oz) Mascarpone cheese

1 package of Savoiardi biscuits

300ml (1-1/4 cup) very strong espresso coffee, cooled

3 tablespoons Marsala wine, sweet sherry, or rum

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Whisk the egg yolks and the icing sugar until they are double in volume and pale. Add the mascarpone and beat until combined.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the mascarpone mixture. Mix the cooled coffee and Marsala in a medium size bowl. Dip both sides of the Savoiardi biscuits into the coffee, arranging them in a single layer in a medium size square dish. Cover with half of the mascarpone mixture, repeat with a layer of biscuits and cover with the remaining cheese mixture.

Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. Sift cocoa powder on top before serving.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/06/06/tiramisu-a-little-pick-me-up/

Birthday Cake

It was my turn to bring goodies for my team’s weekly Kabbalat Shabbat, which literally means “Receiving Sabbath”. Kabbalat Shabbat is usually celebrated by reciting Psalms and prayers before Shabbat begins on Friday evening, but in Israeli companies and offices it has also come to mean a break on Thursday for colleagues to get together informally over savory or sweet munchies and drinks. Weather permitting, we have our break on the rooftop of our building where there are nice niches with tables and chairs to sit and look over the Sharon plain. Since my birthday was the next day, I decided to bring a birthday cake. Usually we bring coffee cakes or cheese and nuts, but when someone has a birthday, they try to bring something more special.

When I was a child, I always asked for a German Chocolate cake for my birthday. Talk about sickeningly sweet! I am not sure when I stopped asking for cakes with tons of frosting, but now I really dislike buttercream, or even worse, frosting made with shortening like they put on cakes in the States with cups and cups of icing sugar.

But I don’t mind the sour icing that is put on a carrot cake. Usually, it is icing made with cream cheese, but I found an interesting frosting made with mascarpone and fromage frais, which is a low fat cheese from France. It is similar to German quark. I decided to use labane, a yogurt cheese, that is readily available in the Middle East and is 5% fat. This carrot cake is a moist spicy cake that goes well with the sharpness of the icing.

The team enjoyed the cake and took seconds and thirds, but fortunately there was enough left to bring back to Mr. BT, who would have been disappointed if hadn’t got any.

Carrot Cake with Mascarpone, Labane, and Cinnamon Icing
For the cake:

300g (2 3/4 cups) self-raising flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

4 eggs

335ml (1 2/3 cup) sunflower oil or other light vegetable oil

450g (2 1/4 cup) caster sugar

2 cups grated carrots

1 1/4 chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons hot water

Butter and flour for the tins

For the icing:

500g (1lb) mascarpone

400g (3/4lb) Labane, 5% fat (or drained greek-style yogurt)

1/4 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly grease two 23cm (9-inch) spring-form cake tins with melted butter. Line the bottom of each tin with parchment paper. Butter the paper and then dust the tin with flour.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Separate two of the eggs.

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and the sugar. Slowly add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, beating well. Add the carrots, and then add the walnuts. Then add the flour followed by the hot water. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold them into the cake batter.

Divide the cake mixture between the prepared tins. Place the baking tins on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove them from the tray and let cool on a baking rack.

For the icing:

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 1-2 hours, until you are ready to ice the cake.

With a palette knife, spread a layer of icing on one cake, then press the other on top. Spread the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2009/09/12/birthday-cake/

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