Friday, April 30, 2010

Self Proclaimed Tiramisu Snobs

In Iowa City, where Mike and I went to college there was a restaurant called the Brown Bottle. It was a dimly light Italian place, with ok food and too high of prices for college kids. But the Tiramisu was amazing.

We'd go out to dinner at different places and then run over to The Brown Bottle for desert. They served the deep chocolate and espresso flavored treat in a large clear wine goblet, pressed up against the sides so you could tell it was individually made. Ever since then we've ooooh-d and ahhhh-d over every desert menu that we see it on, remembering the yummy dish. But it's never been the same. We get all hyped up to taste it and then it turns out in a perfectly layered (undoubtedly frozen) slice, tasting of cream cheese and bad coffee.

So I was really nervous to try making it myself. I'd found some good looking Lady Finger cookies at a local grocery store and figured I'd give it a try. Almost a year later they were still sitting in my cupboard.
We'd just had an amazing dinner with friends who made wonderful Bread Pudding and give us that recipe and one for Tiramisu.
Turns out it's pretty complicated to make from scratch, makes a lot of dishes, and is time consuming. Perfect! Honestly my kind of dish. I figure if it takes a long time to prep and make, it's gotta taste that much better than store bought.
I'm on the lookout for a better serving dish though. This repurposed flower vase just doesn't quite have the effect I'm looking for...


6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese*
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
2 packages dry lady fingers (3oz each)
½ cup coffee liqueur**
Cocoa powder or shaved chocolate curls

Beat egg yolks and sugar until lemony colored (1-2 minutes), place in top of double boiler a cook 8-10 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Whip 1 ¾ cup of the cream until stiff. Fold in the egg mix. Line bowl with layer of lady fingers and pour the liqueur over them, soaking slightly. Avoid getting the liqueur on the eggs mixture (it soaks into lady fingers well). Cover with eggs mix (1/3) dust with cocoa and repeat layers. Top with sweetened whip cream and garnish with dusting of cocoa or shaved chocolate. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

*Mascarpone cheese substitute: 8 oz cream cheese, 2 Tbls. cream and ¼ cup sour cream blended until smooth.

**Coffee liqueur: Espresso with brandy or Kaluha/Tia Maria.

Sweetened whipped cream: ¾ cup cream, 2 Tbls. powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla whipped but not too stiff.

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