Wednesday, July 20, 2011


When I thought about what dessert to make, I wanted something that was reminiscient of Italy, and I remembered back to a very nice dinner at the piazza del campo, where we had delicious tirimisu, and I knew what I wanted to make.

6 egg yolks (who knew tirimisu had raw eggs in it?)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 lb mascarpone (I bough an extra container to dip fruit in - delicious!)
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled (I used coffee)
2 teaspoons dark rum (I used a teaspoon of kalua and a teaspoon of amaretto, since I didn't have rum)
24 packaged ladyfingers
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings (I used dark chocolate, since that's what I found)

The first step is to make the creamy, delicious filling. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for about 5 minutes, until it is thick and pale. Then, add the mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Finally, you add in a tablespoon of the espresso.

A small note here - up until my attempt to make this dessert, I had never made coffee before. Trying to make espresso would be way beyond my skill set, but I figured coffee I should be able to handle. So, I looked online, found a "recipe" (is it really a recipe? probably more like instructions) and gave it a try. How'd it taste? I don't really like plain coffee, so I don't think I'm the best judge of whether coffee tastes good or not, but it certainly seemed like coffee. In retrospect, it might have been better to buy some instant espresso than just go with coffee, since the coffee taste was a little weak within the dessert.

In any event, with the addition of my coffee, the filling was done, and spectacularly good. I may have had a spoonful. Or two. Or maybe a little bit more. Still, there was plenty to spare for the dessert.

After the filling it was time to tackle the ladyfingers. The reviews online for the recipe had a lot of discussion about ladyfingers. Many said if you bought the wrong ones, it would all turn into a soggy mess that would have to be thrown out, so I was a little nervous. I also had a bit of trouble finding them. Apparently, according to Trader Joes, there is a season for ladyfingers, and summer is not it. I finally got them at luckys, but they were the "wrong" ones - very soft airy cakey material.

Since I had been warned, I didn't dip them in the mixture. Instead I spooned it over the ladyfingers on the bottom, placed them in the 11 by 8 dish (the porportions in the recipe say 13 by 9, but I didn't have one quite that size), and then spooned more over the top until they seemed saturated.

After I set up the first layer of the ladyfingers, I spread 1/2 of my mascarpone mixture over them. Then, repeat with one more layer of ladyfingers, perpared in the same way, and the rest of the mascarpone mixture ( may or may not have had a few bites of the mixture during this part as well - it almost seems surprising that any of the actual dessert got made with all the sampling I was doing).

Finally, You get to put the dessert in the fridge for at least two hours. This part was key - it meant that I could make this first, before I made dinner - and it would be all set to go by the time we were ready for dessert.

Right before I served dessert, I used the vegetable peeler to sprinkle the top with chocolate shavings.

This dessert looked delicious and tasted even better - moist, delicious, and reminiscient of those warm Tuscan evenings.

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