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Hazelnut Tiramisu – DB’s September challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on February 27, 2010

 

 

 

Hazelnut Tiramisu with Cardamom-Caramel sauce and Kahlua Jelly

 

It’s that time again for another Daring Bakers entry.  This one holds a special place for me, as Tiramisu was the first dessert my wife and I made together (we were dating then).  You’re going to think this a made up story, but it was while spending a week in a Tuscan villa just south of Florence.  Lazy mornings reading the Herald Tribune while sipping cappuccinos in town.  spend half the day shopping for dinner, then back to the house to cook with family and friends.  Seems almost unfair to get a taste of retirement before even getting into a career, but I digress…

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.  (recipes as always, listed below)

Where to begin?  I suppose the starting point for this was to build around a coffee flavor, and to not get too far away from anything recognizable as ‘tiramisu’.  I wanted to cream layers to stay as close to the original as possible then, and let the accent pieces carry some of the load.  Rather than go in the direction of a Pomegranate or Kiwi (both done to amazing effect by the way by Audax and Deeba) Hazelnuts seemed ‘coffee-ish’ enough.

As much as I’d love to claim this then as my own, I stumbled across a Hazelnut Ladyfinger recipe online.  The Cardamom was just an added lucky bonus, as I’ve fallen into a bit of a Cardamom kick lately.

But now, since we’ve opened that door anyway, why not play up the cardamom in a side sauce also?  Heston Blumenthal does a Cumin-Caramel that sounds too damn cool for its own good, but how hard would it be then to do the same thing with cardamom instead? 

(The sauce on top idea, while hardly original comes from Lemon Pi, at least that’s where I first saw it)

The tops were dusted not with the traditional cocoa powder, but a mix of toasted ground hazelnuts, some powdered sugar (perhaps unnecessary) and cocoa powder for a darker color.  The first swing at this technique came dangerously close to epic fail, as the tiramisu just wasn’t set up enough in the fridge.  It really needed to spend some time in the freezer before it could be worked with in any real way.

 presentation fail

And since I’m already spending my lunch hour at the bookstore stealing ideas from giants, why not also try out the Fat Duck Amaretto Jelly?  (switched to kahlua at the last-minute because really, why mix almonds and hazelnuts if you can avoid it?)

These were really nothing more than plate decoration but they did taste very interesting, and something about the light casting dark amber shadows on the white plates worked.  Not the kind of thing you’d eat with a spoon on its own, but a good accent point.

It's all about the clean lines

 

Before I leave it at that though, I have to say one thing about the Pastry Cream recipe that follows.  It ROCKS!!  I had always done the standard egg custard with some corn starch-milk mix added in, then a pat of butter added at the end approach.  Recently I tried something new where the butter was melted into the milk first, but it didn’t set up very well at all.  Francisco Migoya posted recently a new better way to make pastry cream, but it only works for batches larger than 3 lbs.  (I can hear my wife shudder in her sleep as I type that, hoping not to wake up to find all our fridge space occupied by buckets of pastry cream.  Honey, it was all Migoya’s fault.  He’s the one you want)

Thanks again to Deeba and Aparna for the challenge.  Well done ladies.  Lastly, it wouldn’t be a DB Challenge without a quick shout-out to some inspirational bakers out there, namely Almost BourdainSweet Sensation, and Eat show and tell.

TIRAMISU

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione: 
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream: 
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu: 
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

MASCARPONE CHEESE

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

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8 Responses to “Hazelnut Tiramisu – DB’s September challenge”

  1. Aparna said

    It really is about clean lines, and your Tiramisu is perfect. Happy to have brought back memories for you with this one.
    Thanks for baking with us.

  2. s said

    marvelous job!!!
    http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com

  3. Lauren said

    Oh wow! Your tiramisu is stunning! I love the hazelnut idea =D.

  4. Natalie said

    Mmm hazelnut tiramisu…now this sounds good!! Great job on this month’s chalelnge.

  5. Sharon said

    I’m going to try the Kahlua jelly immediately. Grown up decorative jello shots. I love it!

  6. Y said

    I really love the overall effect of your presentation. Not only do the flavours sound great, but the shades of caramel and brown are so fantastic.

  7. osakaben41 said

    Thanks for the love guys. There was a scare early on when, after putting all the pieces together, watching that first slice just slump into an unattractive mess. Very happy to have enough saved to try again after freezing it, but it felt like a fumble on the 5 yard line that night. Otherwise, hugely impressed with what everybody is putting out there. Bring on March.

  8. Wow what a beautiful presentation. Looks like a winning dessert from a fine dining restaurant 🙂

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