Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge: 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 first heard about Daring Bakers about 6 months ago.  I've been lurking around for 4 of the 6 months.  I've been waiting for a good time to pull the trigger and finally decided to sign up for it last month.  As luck would have it, my very first challenge was Tiramisu.  Not just throwing Tiramisu together from store bought items but actually making each component from scratch. I almost started to cry [well, actually, I did cry for a minute, then told myself to suck it up.  You know the rules - there's no crying in the kitchen.]

There were just a few rules you had to adhere to [you know this was already going to be problem since I'm not much of a rule follower]:
1. Make my own Savoiardi/Ladyfinger biscuits, Mascarpone cheeese, zabaglione and pastry cream with the given recipes,
2. Sponge cake is NOT an acceptable substitute.
I have to admit, I was tempted to cheat on the mascarpone cheese but I'm not a cheater...even if I am a total lazy @$$ and like my shortcuts.

My step 1:
Ladyfingers/Savoiardi: I couldn't believe it...whipping up the egg whites.  It was like trying to make [or in my case, destroy] Macarons.  I was convinced that it was going to fail.  Oddly enough, these things were DELICIOUS and the easiest thing for me to make.

Step 2:
Zabaglione is made with eggs, sugar, vanilla, and Marsala Wine. Really??  Marsala wine?? I'm not even sure I know what that is and I've got a very healthy wine collection.  Hmmm...they're allowing me to use Port as a substitute.  AWESOME. I bought some Port when I was in Lisbon last November.  Popped that sucker opened and of COURSE I had to make sure it was good enough to use.  Tasted...and promptly cursed my rotten luck that I only bought 1 bottle of it. Cooked up the zabaglione with a bit of hesitancy because I wasn't 100% sure what a thick custard was supposed to look like.  Does thin custard look like egg nog?? Hmmm...things that were running through my head as I watched [helplessly] as it cooked.  

Step 3:
Pastry Cream was a little easier since it gave me clear instructions on time [12 minutes] and key indicators - like the fact that it would start to bubble.  I accidentally dropped the wooden spoon on my mouth and was forced to taste it.  It was really good.  But just to clear the taste of it, I did have some more Port.

Step 4:
Called it a night and went to sleep.  
Step 5:
Go to work, then to the LA Clipper game [they won]. Finally make it back home to start the Mascarpone at 11:00pm.  This is where things get very, very tricky. I had to immerse the mixing bowl in a pot of water [not exactly double broiler style] to slowly heat the creme.  It was supposed to take about 15 minutes.  30 minutes later, my temp finally hit 155 [I was waiting for 190 degrees], then started to drop and kept on dropping and dropping.  
Frustrated I decided to just throw it into a pot and cook the sucker.  2 1/2 minutes later it finally hit 190 degrees [I cried tears of joy].  The instructions indicated that I'd see clear streaks as I stirred [i didn't].  I kept cooking in hopes that I'd eventually see streaks [i didn't]. I gave up after 12:00am came, let it cool,  set it in the cheese cloth lined sieve, and refrigerated. 

Espresso?? Geez. I was just thankful that I had coffee.  Made a pot of coffee for the ladyfingers to soak in.

Took out the mascarpone out of the fridge.  The directions said to use a spoon to get rid of the lumps.  I was a little concerned since my mascarpone was the consistency of butter - NOT like regular mascarpone at all.  I opted to use a fork after deciding a sledge hammer would be too extreme.  [i ended up adding some cream to soften the cheese]

Mixed the mascarpone with the zabaglione, pastry cream and a fresh batch of whip cream.  The original mixture may have been hard as a rock but it tasted heavenly.    

I brought the Tiramisu in for my office.  Some people tried Tiramisu for the first time [??!!!] and loved it.  Sadly, there was no leftovers for me to stuff my fat face. To top it off NO ONE GOT FOOD POISONING!!  YES! Success!!!


  1. HAHAHAHAHAHA, the wooden spoon "accidentally" dropped onto your tongue? What? Did I really just read that? Oh, my cream mixture next hit 190 either. I finally gave up too. :) Aren't we coold?

  2. I don't know HOW it happened. bizarre! ;) I'm glad I wasn't the only one but your mascarpone came out like it should!! Hmmm...will have to try it again.

  3. Wait a second. You accidentally dropped the wooden spoon on your mouth? Rachael and I sooo believe that! hehe. And I couldn't help but crack up at the food poisoning part! LOL

    Anway, great try at your first challenge! :)

  4. I'm determined to do better next time!! :)


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