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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to make tiramisu in a few weeks for a dinner party. I have been researching recipes and find that there is a great variation in recipes. I just want to make the traditional type, soaked ladyfingers on bottom, light creamy filling on top. Considering the price of marscapone cheese (1/2lb. is $4-5) I would like some advice before attempting to make this.

1. Do you cook the eggs yolks or not? Some recipes call for cooking yolks + sugar over a dbl boiler until ribbon stage, others just have you whip the yolks raw.

2. Some recipes call for 8oz of marscapone, others a full pound. For a 13x9 pan, what seems right?

3. Espresso? I dont have espresso at home, but I bought Ferrara Espresso instant powder, will this work? The directions say to mix 1 rounded tsp of espresso powder into a demi-tasse of hot water, how many ounces in a demi-tasse? And, will just regular brewed coffee work if I make it strong?


Any tried and true recipes will be appreciated, as well as any advice.
 

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1. Cook if you're concerned about egg safety or if you're serving to pregnant women, small children and others with compromised immune systems. I've done both and never really noticed too much of a difference.

2. I'd use a full pound of mascarpone for a 13 x 9 pan, but you could probably get away with less if there are lots of eggs in the recipe. However, I'd go for the recipe with more mascarpone; I personally don't think you can have too much mascarpone.

3. You can use strong brewed coffee and you get a nice coffee flavour especially if you add some kahlua, but the espresso tastes better and espresso powder will work. A demi-tasse is usually from about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of liquid. You don't really need to measure, you just need enough to soften your ladyfingers. I do the dip method rather than the pour method.
 

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You should consider making your own. Go to the beer brewing store and get some tartaric acid crystals. Use one teaspoon per gallon of cream, heat the cream, stir in the tartaric acid, allow to set.

Kuan
 

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I've tried so many tiramisu recipes over the years......I have a folder just for this one item.

Thoughts: I could never get my lady fingers as firm and stiff to hold up to a good soaking and soft filling as well as what stores buy in. Mine always dissolve too much (and I've made MANY different lady finger recipes too, and left them out to dry, etc...). I could never get a nice wedge out of a pan with them, more like a scoop. In the long run I prefer to use a sponge cake or a chocolate genoise in place of my scratch lady fingers because they have more texture and body to hold up to the moisture (they'll slice neater also).

Another observation: everyone I've served this to prefers finely ground semi sweet chocolate over using cocoa powder. At the least, don't place your cocoa powder on the top layer to finish(only inside layers) because many people cough/choke on it.

Eggs: yes choose a recipe that cooks them for safety...raw eggs are more of a thing from the past.

Expresso and your soaking syrup: I use strong reg. coffee, dissolve some instant expresso into it while hot. Everyone likes different liqouors, my preference is a bit of dark rum and some kahlua.

My recipe is much like the one posted by Svadhisthana under her "here" link. When you make it, heat your yolks with some of the sugar over a double boiler until hot (140f). Then fold in your cheese. The do the same with your whites, heat with some sugar over double boiler to 140f, then whip till firm and fold into your cheese mixture. I make multiple layers of cake and filling for a better looking serving.

Don't feel like there is a right and wrong way with this dessert. Everyone makes it slightly different, the attraction is the coffee, cake, chocolate and cream flavoring which work well no matter how you make it. Some bigger places don't even use marscarpone and they sub. in cream cheese instead.

Taste before you assemble it (it doesn't "set" quickly), pull out a lady finger and flavor as intended, then make adjustments for your tastes before you assemble the whole pan. If you don't like the cocoa powder use ground chocolate. If your coffee syrup is too bitter use reg. coffee instead, etc...
 

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Although there are many variations of Tiramisù, the original recipe (that was born in Veneto quite recently, at the beginning of Twentieth century) is made with raw and not cooked eggs.
Personally, I think there is no use in scaring people (apart from "at risk" subjects) about raw eggs if they're absolutely fresh, the provenience is well known and you don't contaminate the inside with the shell... and, in any case, the "raw" recipe is very quick and easy and you don't need much experience to get the best results!

The procedure of the "classic" recipe is just the one quoted by Svadhistana. As for the doses, as W. DeBord said there are no rules apart from your taste! These are the easiest:

Each person,

1 Egg
3 1/2 oz Mascarpone
1 tbsp (full) sugar

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they're "writing", mix with the Mascarpone, then incorporate very gently the whisked whites. I don't add anything more to the cream, but some vanilla flavour added to the egg yolks can be a good idea; I'm a little more doubtful about chocolate. Soak the cookies with coffee and liqueur, make a layer of cookies, one of cream, another of cookies, then cover with the reamining cream and sprinkle with cocoa powder or chocolate. Keep refrigerated for at least 3-4 hours.

Coffee: there are no defined doses as you just need the amount required to wet the cookies without breaking them, and also the type of coffee depends on your taste...I use expresso, or coffee made with the "Moka" coffee-maker (as you may know, it's very popular here in Italy) but any coffee can be good if you like it! I usually flavour it with a coffee liqueur like Kahlua or Tia Maria, but also with Rum or an orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier).

Cookies: suppose that your "lady fingers" are our "Savoiardi"...personally, I never make them at home as, apart from the time I spare, the commercial ones are MUCH better! (At least, much better than anything I could do...:) ). I have always found very easily the Italian Savoiardi abroad and suppose they're available everywhere in US. Can't say how many Savoiardi you need as I never count them...but a package serves about 6. Don't soak them too much (the center must remain dry) as they'll become softer as you're keeping your Tiramisù aside before serving. If the cookies are too wet from the beginning, the Tiramisù will end up watery.

Chocolate: I usually sprinkle the surface with bitter cocoa powder (and never put chocolate inside). Since the Tiramisù is supposed to be kept aside at least 3-4 hours, it becomes quite wet and it's unlikely people choke on it. Anyway, finely ground chocolate (or thin chocolate leaves) can surely make the recipe very yummy!

Mascarpone: I'm doubtful about homemade mascarpone...and, all considered, although it's more expensive than in Italy I don't think it's SO expensive you must make your own! Here in Italy, fresh mascarpone is available, and it's obviously much better than the packed commercial brands. When I was forced to use packed mascarpone (in example, out of Italy) I found out that with some brands I had major problems to amalgamate the eggs with it as they remain separated (don't know the English word... I mean the same thing it happens when you fail making mayo). So, my advice is to try making Tiramisù in advance and then to use always the same Mascarpone brand you already know it's good to avoid bad surprises...

Pongi
 

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Wow Pongi thanks so much for the analysis.

I usually use savoyards but like Wendy, lately I use sponge cake , I agree with you whith the cooked or not cooked issue...

And I 'd like to learn more about this "home made mascarpone"

I have had lately a dessert " Mascarpone di Piemonte with chesnuts "
Since we cannot find fresh mascarpone here why not try to make home made?
 

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Raw egg situation is largely dictated by where you get your eggs and how fresh they are. If you're like Martha Stewart and have an egg factory (henhouse) in your backyard, I wouldn't worry about using raw. If, however, you're like most of us and need to get them from the supermarket or another source, you have to do some homework before taking that kind of risk.

Re: Mascarpone...If you can't make your own and don't want to spend the $$$ for the real McCoy, you might consider mixing 3 part mascarpone with 1 part cream cheese. Yes, this is a sort of [email protected] version but it's less money.

If you are going to try to make your own mascarpone, try to find cream that is not ultrapasteurized.
 

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I've looked for the recipe of mascarpone. Although what I've found refers to industrial or semi-industrial procedures, it looks almost like the recipe quoted by kuan and seems feasible at home...at least in theory!

1) Artigianal procedure starts from "normal" cream. Industrial mascarpone is made with pasteurized and concentrated cream, which must contain 32-35 percent fats.

2) Cream is heated to 90-95° (Celsius degrees...Athenaeus, surely your conversion table could tell me how many Fahrenheits but I have no time now!;) ) then 1 percent citric or tartaric acid is added and the cream is coagulated stirring it continuously. How long, it's not clear...it seems that 5 mins are enough, but industrial procedures last much more time, about 30 mins.

3) Mascarpone is harvested with spatulas, spread on cotton linens in a 1 inch layer and drained for 6-7 hours at room temperature, then is worked by hands with sticks and finally refrigerated at 4° (Celsius).

4) The artigianal mascarpone must be eaten in 24 hours as it's very perishable and goes sour very quickly (apart from the risk of Botulinum or other contaminations, which have been reported here in Italy also for industrial products...)

This is the theory...but I have no personal experience, so maybe kuan can share with us the concrete know-how!:)

Pongi
 

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I also just buy savoiardi because I love them even on their own. I can't seem to find plain savoiardi anymore though. The only ones I've found lately have a faint orange flavour that I don't like much. I dip instead of pour the espresso because I don't like them soggy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all very much for the info. I feel more at ease now. I am going to use the recipe at the Oprah site, but I will cook the eggs. I will not skip on the mascarpone either. I will let you know how it turns out :)
 

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Homemade Italian Mascarpone

2 cups heavy cream
6 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon tartaric acid (cream of tartar works well)

Place a large colander in the sink and line it with a clean dish towel or 3 to 4 layers of cheesecloth at least 24 inches square.

Combine the cream and milk in the top half of a double boiler and set it over high heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon and keep a thermometer nearby. When the temperature begins to near 175°F, tufn the down to low. You are aiming for a temperature of 185°F, but you do not want to shoot pass it. As soon as you hit the correct temperature, turn the heat down to very, very low and scatter the cream of tartar over the top of the cream. Mix in thoroughly, turn off the heat, but leave the double boiler in place, Whit in a minute, the cream should begin to thicken and set. You should also begin to see a thin line of greenish whey forming around the edges. If that does not happen, add just another pinch of the tartar, no more. Stir this in as well. Within 2 to 3 minutes, the cream should have coagulated. Pour the contents of the pan into the lined colander in the sink.

If the draining is held up by the thick curds, lift up the cloth by its 4 ends, forming a loose bundle. If the flow of whey slows down, encourage it by sloshing the cheese pressing with a big spoon. When you feel you have got out as much whey as you can easily, put the cheese bundle in a small sieve, set the sieve on a small bowl, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. The cheese is full of butterfat and will spoil easily, so let it drain in cool comfort. When it stops dripping, 2 to 4 hours, remove the cheese from the cloth and put it in a tightly covered container before you refrigerate it again.

Makes about 2 cups / 1 pound

From: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
 

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WOW, Isa...thanks for your detailed and exhaustive recipe!:)

As for the Tiramisù recipe, I forgot another option that I sometimes choose:
I add to the cream 1 tbsp Marsala wine each 2 egg yolks (after having beated them with the sugar and mixed with the mascarpone and before incorporating the whisked whites). In this case, I put in only half of the whites (otherwise the cream could throw out some liquid) and don't add any liqueur to the coffee. This way, you get a nice Zabaione-like Tiramisù.

Pongi
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, my first attempt was just plain icky. I threw it out after just 2bites. Somehow, my filling stayed thin and foamy. I used a recipe with 3egg yolks and 2 whipped egg whites, with 1/4C marsala mixed in. I folded the 3 parts together and hoped it would set up as it chilled, but it didnt. I am not sure I cooked the egg yolks long enuf. How do you know? This week I am trying Tyler FLorence's recipe from foodtv.com as it doesnt use egg whites but rather whipped cream folded into cheese mixture.

I used a steel bowl over a pan of warm water with my yolks/sugar/marsala and I whisked for 3-4min till light in color and thickened somewhat. Did I not go long enuf? I have carpal tunnel and my hand was killing me!
 

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Calicoskies,
it sounds like you haven't whisked the egg yolks enough. Either you make a "raw" or a "cooked" version, unfortunately for your carpal tunnel you must beat the egg/sugar mix at least for 10 mins or until they're very soft and "write" on the surface (if you do the work manually...but you can use an electric whisk!).
If you want to make a Zabaione-like cream, cooking the egg yolks with sugar and Marsala, those are some tricks that work great:

1)Heat the water in the double saucepan until it's almost boiling (in Italy we say it's "trembling") and have within reach some cold water to lower the temperature if required;

2)Firstly add in the pan only the egg yolks and sugar, and whisk them until they start getting thicker;

3)Only at this point, start adding the Marsala, very gradually, 1 tbsp at a time. Don't add the next until the previous has been completely absorbed; when all the marsala has been added, whisk again until it starts writing;

4)Although I have no experience of the "cooked" Tiramisù, suppose it's better cooling down the egg custard before adding the mascarpone.

Tiring and time consuming, you'll say...but this is the only way to get a good Zabaione. I usually whisk it (manually) AT LEAST 30 mins or longer if the eggs are more than 8. This is one of the reasons why I never make a cooked cream for the Tiramisù, that is supposed to be a quick and easy dessert. If you're concerned about raw eggs, use an electric whisk or make the cream without marsala!:)

Pongi
 

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...Another option that comes to my mind:
1) Cook the egg yolk custard
2) Cook the egg white meringue
3) Cool them down
4) Mix the egg custard and the mascarpone until smooth
5) Add the marsala very gradually, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix again
6) Finally, incorporate the egg whites very gently.

Apart from the fact that I don't cook anything, this is just the procedure I use.

Pongi
 

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1. Make the tiramisù cream by whisking the egg and sugar together in a bowl in a bain-marie until it reaches 122 degrees F. Remove from bain-marie and cool the sabayon by whisking firmly.

2. Cream together the mascarpone and the double cream and whisk into the cold sabayon. Set aside.

3. Just before you serve, soak 8 of the biscuits in a mixture of the expresso coffee and amaretto. (the proportions are about 3 1/2 fl. oz espresso coffee for 2 fl. oz. amaretto)

4. Place ramekins on individual plates, pour a little tiramisù cream over the bottom of each, put in a soaked biscuit and then fill the cups with more cream to the rim. Dust with cocoa powder and serve the remaining biscuits to dip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks, Kimmie and Pongo. Attempt #2 is chilling now and it looks good. I can tell you right now that the first time I did those yolks over the dbl boiler...I didnt beat them 10min! Thanks for the "write with them" description, that helps me alot. I will let you know how the Tyler Florence recipe turns out, its the one in fridge now.
 
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