Monday, March 14, 2011

Everybody love parfait!

Most people have some sort of sweet offering that they enjoy above all others.  My daughter's happens to be tiramisu....but I don't make it as often as she would like.  Mostly because mascarpone is a bit difficult to find and when I do find it, it costs an arm and a leg or it's in a container the size of a water cracker.  I have made it a few times with substitutions for the mascarpone, however the dishes have always lacked the richness that only mascarpone provides.  Lucky for Karina (and myself and Bren) Kroger had mascarpone on sale the other week and I was able to pick up 2 pounds for ten bucks.  I was thrilled.  

Now, I admit, my tiramisu is NOT pretty.  I don't make it in one layer in a rectangle dish. I use the English trifle method, many layers in a tall round dish.  Ugly when dished up, but the cream to cookie ratio is perfect.  

base recipe:
2 pounds mascarpone
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar, plus 4 extra tablespoons
1 cup strong espresso
1/4 cup kaluha, madeira, Irish cream or other tasty liquor/fortified wine
1 packet Italian ladyfingers (savoiardi)
unsweetened cocoa
pinch of salt

optional (added to the tiramisu in the picture):
1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
1 pound whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 to 1 cup Amaretto
1 cup strong espresso
1/2 cup kaluha, madeira, Irish cream or other tasty liquor/fortified wine
3 tablespoons rosso sweet vermouth
1 packet Italian ladyfingers (savoiardi)

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; add the 4 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and set aside.  Beat the egg yolks, 1 1/4 cups sugar and pinch of salt until thick and pale yellow.  Beat in the mascarpone until well combined.  Repeat with the cream cheese and ricotta.  Add 3/4 cup Amaretto and mix thoroughly.  Taste.  If needed, add another 1/4 cup Amaretto.  Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture and set aside.  Mix together espresso, Irish cream and vermouth, pour some into a shallow dish large enough to accommodate one of the savoiardi without it breaking.  

Assembly:  soak savoiardi one at a time in the espresso mixture and use them to line the bottom of a large, high-sided bowl.  Add a layer of the mascarpone cream and smooth evenly.  Dust the top of the cream with unsweetened cocoa powder.  Repeat this until bowl is full and/or the last layer of cream has been added.  Dust top with unsweetened cocoa powder and set dish in refrigerator for several hours.  This allows the flavours to meld and the savoiardi to soften.  Serve at room temperature for best taste.

I've given directions for the embellished version that I made and is pictured, adjusting for a base recipe should be easy from there.  And just a couple of notes:  1) don't use fresh ladyfingers, use the ones called savoiardi, they don't disintegrate when soaking in the espresso mixture and maintain their shape when softened; 2) what liquor(s) you use is entirely up to you, I don't care what any other recipes say, if you don't like the liquor on its own you won't like it in the dessert; 3) using raw eggs is also up to you, should you not want to you can beat the egg whites in a double boiler until stiff peaks form and the temperature reaches 160 degrees, ditto with the egg yolks.

Here are a few of the "in progress" photos I subjected Karina too while we were cooking.

And here is what we had for dinner before diving into that layered heaven:  pork schnitzel, roasted potatoes with alaea Hawaiian sea salt, green cabbage salad with Greek vinaigrette, and Irish soda bread which we slathered with fresh butter and honey.


  1. I love tiramisu too!!! oh, and I shared your websites with my sister and one of my friends. they loved Alex's cooking. :)
    Love you all and miss you all!!!

  2. eeeeeeeee!!!! I didn't even see this until now =)

    Glad that he's getting his cooking on for you all. Love you too, miss you!!!!!!