Friday, November 19, 2010
Chef Gert's Tiramisu
Tiramisu was one of the first desserts I ever made back when I was a wee little girl with neither the skill nor dexterity for anything complicated: it was an easy yet decadent put-together treat that also introduced me to the wunderbar world of coffee and rum. Needless to say, I was hooked!
Like Baklava, Tiramisu's origin is marked with great debate: some say it is an old Italian version of the English trifle, others credit a chef whose maiden name was Tiramisu. One version even places its birth at an Italian brothel, hence the name Tiramisu, aka "pick me up".
Sponge Fingers Base
Sponge fingers form the trademark look of Tiramisu so a long strip of fingers alongside some discs were piped, sprinkled with sugar and baked quickly in a high temperature to retain its moisture. They are then lined around the outside and base of a cake ring.
Stars Of The Show: Mascarpone Filling & Coffee Punch
Mascapone and cream cheese is further enriched with egg yolks, sugar and Tia Maria (rum or Kahlua works beautifully too). Gelatin is added for stability and meringue to lighten the filling.
Strong coffee with a vanilla bean added for good measure makes the punch that is liberally applied onto the sponge for added moisture, color and flavor.
Building The Layers, Chocolate Overflow
A layer of cheese filling follows the sponge and the whole sponge-punch-cheese routine is repeated again. Finally a pool of chocolate ganache is poured on to finish the gateau.
By now you probably note some similarities between the Opéra and Tiramisu: the layers, flavors and technique. The former a dense cake meant to be savored in thin slices while the latter, light enough to be devoured in its entirety.
Like a Tom Cruise movie, the gateau looked great but tasted uninspiring and left me unsatisfied. I blame not the recipe, but the fact that the first Tiramisu I made and tasted remains to this day, the best I've ever had. ;p
Strudel Dough, Pate Brisee (Savory Short Paste)
Probably as exciting as watching a your hair turn gray, the doughs are mise en place for tomorrow's apple strudel and quiches.
I Did It My Way
Being a delinquent for the day, which I strongly advise against, I made a couple ofadjustments to my gateau. Like a real pick-me-up, the first date, first kiss and the eventual proposal, I'd like to have it done my way, if I can.
For the filling I omitted the meringue, enriched it with more egg yolk and sugar and gave it a kick-ass personality with a big hit of Tia Maria and rum. Ditto for the punch: more coffee and rum to deliver a real punch.
A thick coat of cocoa powder blankets each layer of cheese, and as I thought the ganache overpowered the delicate coffee and alcohol flavor, I replaced it with cocoa powder as well.
Woohoo! Kick Ass Crazy Good!
What a relief when my Opera turned out well! The glaze could have been warmed up for a darker and glossier finish, but I was so preoccupied with my Tiramisu that I forgot the time and had to wing it. I'll be sure not to repeat the folly come assessment day.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
Check it out! The layers were even, the buttercream could have been whipped longer for more volumn and the sponge soaked with more punch, but overall, I am very pleased with the result. Well done, me! :)