Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate Tiramisu

It's starting to get chilly outside.  OK, correction, it got COLD.  TODAY.  We left the house this morning in Durham and it was chilly outside, but I swear the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees between 8:00 this morning and noon.  I was not prepared.  But, I will be soon!

To prepare, get yerself some hot coffee and some booze.  Seriously.  What better way to beat the chill?  That's right, I'm making tiramisu.  Tiramisu, literally translated from Italian, means "pick me up."  This dessert will pick you up for sure.  And then shake you off and make you dance!  I'm hoping for some people to dance with me tomorrow night (so I don't look so silly dancing by myself), so hopefully this dessert will do it. 

This recipe is a slight variation on the classic tiramisu, which typically consists of ladyfinger cookies soaked in espresso, alternating layers with a zabaglione (also known as zabaione, sabayon, or zabajone), which is an egg yolk custard mixed with rum, Kahlua, brandy or marsala (some kind of alcohol).  The egg yolk custard incorporates heat and a lot of air from whipping to turn egg yolks, sugar and the sauce into a fragrant, boozy deliciousness!  (Baking holds many faces of bliss for me in particular, and standing over a double-boiler with the steamy smell of eggs, sugar and marsala wafting into my face is seriously one of them!) 

The zabaglione is mixed with mascarpone cheese, which is a sweetened Italian cream cheese, and some whipped cream.  These layers are usually topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and cocoa or cinnamon.  I'm adding some chocolate ganache in with the zabaglione to liven things up a little

Rich Chocolate Tiramisu
Makes two 9x5” loaf pans

click here to print this recipe

½ c chopped semi-sweet chocolate
16 fl oz heavy cream, divided
8 egg yolks
2 c sugar, divided
4 fl oz Marsala
Pinch salt
16 oz mascarpone cheese
approx 3 c espresso or strong coffee
2-3 packages ladyfinger cookies
cocoa powder and dark chocolate shavings

First make the chocolate zabaglione by combining the chopped chocolate and 2 oz heavy cream over medium heat.  Stir frequently and remove from heat when smooth.  In a separate bowl set over a double-boiler, whisk together egg yolks, 2/3 c sugar, salt and marsala.

 Continue whisking vigorously over the heat until the mixture thickens considerably (should see ribbons within the mixture).  

Remove from heat and fold in the melted chocolate mixture, just until homogeneous.  Refrigerate until set.

Whip the cream and ¾ c sugar to soft peaks in a large bowl.  Place the mascarpone in a separate large bowl and stir vigorously with a spoon to loosen it.  Fold in the whipped cream, starting with 1/3 of the mixture first to further loosen the mascarpone.  Once the cream has been folded into the mascarpone, fold in the set chocolate zabaglione.  Refrigerate to set. 

Make your espresso or coffee and whisk with remaining sugar until dissolved.  Line 2 loaf pans (9.25 x 5 x 2.75”) with plastic wrap.  Begin dipping the ladyfinger cookies into the espresso and immediately lining the bottom of each pan.  You will probably get 7-8 cookies on each layer.  Spoon 1/6 of the chocolate mascarpone mixture in each pan (1/3 total).  Follow with 2 more layers of dipping of 7-8 ladyfinger cookies into the espresso, followed by a layer of chocolate mascarpone.  Dip another final layer of cookies in the espresso and arrange on the top of the tiramisu.  The top layer may extend beyond the top edge, so press down slightly if necessary.  Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to set. 

Unwrap the top plastic and invert the tiramisu on a rectangular platter.  Remove outer plastic wrap and garnish with sifted cocoa and chocolate shavings.  Yummy!

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