28.7.08

HHDD#21 - It's Tiramisu!

Almond Caramel Tiramisu

You're not named "pick me up" for no good reason. And the reason is it makes people happier just by looking at it, not to mention taste it! Yep, it's Tiramisu!

I love Tiramisu. When Alexandra from Addicted Sweet Tooth, the brilliant winner of HHDD#20 - the Choux Edition hosted by this truly yours, announced the theme I was jumping on my chair. But then I got a little scared: what should I do with an already perfect dessert? Maybe I could make a plain tiramisu with just a little twist...

Tiramisu is fairly recent, supposedly invented in Treviso, in the north of Italy, only a couple of decades ago. This italian dessert has many variations, with the only constant ingredient being the mascarpone - a creamy soft cheese made from crème fraîche. The basic traditional recipe is made in Italy using raw eggs, with little variations except for the ingredient quantity. My own recipe, pieced together over the years, calls for raw eggs instead of whipped cream - mascarpone and whipped cream seem somehow redundant to me, and the eggs add the perfect texture to the zabaglione - just my 2 cents. ;) Using fresh eggs is crucial. Not a problem to me since my Dad retired to become what a call Hen Chief Executive Officer... but that's another story I'll tell some other day!

First things first.

ladyfingers

Almond Ladyfingers

Makes about 4 dozens

3 large eggs, separated
3 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp sugar superfine
1/2 Tbsp almond extract
1/2 cup (about 65 grs) cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
extra sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 180ºC (360ºF). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 3 egg yolks with 2 Tbsp sugar, until thick and doubled in size. Add the almond extract and the chopped almonds, and fold. Mix in the sifted flour with a spatula, folding just 4-5 times. In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the lemon juice, until soft peaks form. Add 3 Tbsp sugar, one at a time, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold in the yolk mixture, making sure not to break the meringue but mixing until completely incorporated.

Spoon the batter into a large pastry bag, with a round tip (about 1,5 cm) and pipe the ladyfingers onto the parchment paper. Make sure to allow enough space around each one. Use a wire strainer to dust the ladyfingers with the extra sugar. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven. Using a flat spatula, release the ladyfingers from the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Caramel Tiramisu

Almond Caramel Tiramisu

Serves 6-8

Praline
Adapted from Donna Hay, Modern Classics 2, p.124

Preheat oven to 180ºC (360ºF). Place 1/3 blanched almonds in a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Place 1/2 cup superfine caster sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil the mixture until a golden colour. Remove from the heat, allow the bubbles to subside and pour over the almonds. When set, break the praline into chunks, and process in a food processor.

Mascarpone Cream
300 grs mascarpone cheese
4 large fresh eggs, separated
4 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp sugar superfine
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp Amarguinha (Portuguese sour almond liqueur), or more to taste
40 almond ladyfingers (see recipe above)
1/2 cup (125 ml) strong espresso, cooled
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 4 egg yolks with 4 Tbsp sugar, until thick and doubled in size. Gradually, add the liqueur and the mascarpone cheese, and mix until fully incorporated. In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt, until soft peaks form. Add 2 Tbsp sugar, one at a time, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cheese mixture, making sure not to break the meringue but mixing until completely incorporated.

Assembly
Soak each ladyfinger in the coffee. Place it in a large or individual dish or bowl, and arrange into a layer. Cover with a layer of mascarpone cream. Sprinkle a couple of Tbsp of praline on top. Repeat until you run out of ladyfingers, making sure you finish with mascarpone cream and praline. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. Refrigerate for 2 hours, as it's best chilled.


So this is my entry for HHDD! Hay Hay It's Donna Day is a food event created by Barbara from WinosandFoodies and now taken care by Bron Marshall.

11 comments:

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

wow Suzana this looks gorgeus and almond lady fingers YUM!

Aparna said...

This looks so good. I would love to make this but mascarpone isn't something I can find here.:(

Dhanggit said...

two words for this tiramisu: beautiful and delicious!!! i love the idea of almond fingers...hmmmm yummy

Sweet Tooth said...

Sooo - Should I hop on a plane right away to get a share or would you send it with Express mail?

This looks and sounds really like my kind of dessert. I am afraid though that if I were to make it, the praline would not survive long enough to make it into the dessert. YUMMY!

Thank you for your entry, I shall find a day when I have more than usual willpower and try your version. (I would love to have such a connection to fresh eggs as well - I changed my recipe to heat the eggs but it is just not what it used to be)

Alexandra

Lina said...

Hello! I love your blog and all of the wonderful photos! My husband is Portuguese and although we live in the states, we frequent Portugal! (Cascais) I just added your blog to my blogroll. I will be visiting often!

ChichaJo said...

Homemade ladyfingers! Wow! And love the sound of the almond caramel combination...any left over? :) :)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Olha que boa idea! Se o tiramisu simples já é bom, este deve ser espectacular! Os palitos de amêndoa deve ser optimos mesmo sozinhos! Adorei!

Barbara said...

absolutely fabulous Suzana. I can't believe you made home made sponge fingers.

Bron said...

Suzana you are a whiz! This looks, sounds and I know it to be totally divine. Super effort making your own sponge fingers too! Delicious!

linda said...

Congratulations on winning HHDD again!
Can't wait to see what the new recipe will be... Hope to have time to participate this time :)

Barbara said...

Congratulations on winning HHDD a second time. Great entry.