Feb 27, 2010

Tiramisu-Daring Bakers


The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

I was so excited when I saw this month's daring baker challenge. I absolutely LOVE Tiramisu. Not only that, we were tasked to make our own mascarpone cheese and our own lady fingers. How very exciting!!!

In order to make mascarpone cheese, you need heavy cream that's not ultra pasteurized. For weeks and weeks, I searched and searched for heavy cream that's not ultra pasteurized. I went to all the regular grocery stores, and also to the health food stores too...but all of them were ultra pasteurized..even the organic ones!!! I finally gave up and just used store bought mascarpone. boo =(

Everything else came together pretty quickly after the heavy cream hiccup. As for the results, I really liked the zabaglione and pastry cream mixture. It's a lot richer than the Tiramisu recipe that I normally use. My ladyfingers are not as fine in texture as the store bought ones..so I think it would be better if I let the ladyfingers sit in the espresso mixture a little longer. As a whole, I really enjoyed this challenge. Thank you, Aparna and Deeba!!!

Here's the recipe:

(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee) (see note)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (see note)

1. Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

2. In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

3. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.

4. Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Vanilla pastry cream
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (see note)
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

1. Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this, add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.

2. Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)

3. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Whipped cream
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar (see note)
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

1. Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice. Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

3. Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.

4. Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

5. To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

500 ml whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.

2. It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir.

3. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.

Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.

Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2" to 3" long) ladyfingers.

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.

2. Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.

4. Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips.

5. Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.

6. Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.

7. Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.

8. Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack. Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

  • *I think next time I will use less masala wine in the zabaglione, the alcohol taste was quite strong!
  • *I omitted the lemon zest in both the zabaglione and the pastry cream.
  • *I omitted the sugar in the whipped cream because I thought the zabaglione and the pastry cream were sweet enough.

Feb 5, 2010

Pain Creme-Whipping cream bread

I had some left over heavy cream that's about to expire, so I wanted to make something to use that up. I found this Pain Creme (Whipping cream bread) recipe from Daily Delicious and I decided to make it.

This dough was so soft and so nice to knead. If you're going to make this bread, I suggest you knead this dough by hand, it's such an easy dough to handle. It came together beautifully. Because of all the heavy cream in the dough, it felt so nice to knead and my hands felt really nice afterwards. =)

Instead of making little batard shaped buns, I decided to make little piggys!! I saw these little piggy breads from Yujai's blog, and I decided to copy it. Hers are much cuter because I was too lazy to make the nose with the dough. Maybe next time.

As for the taste...these little rolls are wonderful. They're so soft and they taste like really buttery rolls without the oiliness of a butter roll. Does that make any sense? I can't wait to make these again.

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Pain Creme
adapted from Daily Delicious

300g Bread Flour
3g Instant dried yeast
7g Salt
40g Sugar
225g Whipping cream
60 cc Water
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp water)

1. Mix the cream and the water together.

2. Put the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl, whisk to combine. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl, and use large spoon or pastry scraper to mix everything together.

3. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead, until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

4. Put the dough into a light buttered bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size about 1 hour. (see note)

5. Gently press down the dough, then put the dough back into a light buttered bowl and cover with cling film. Put the bowl in the refrigerator and rest overnight. (see note)

6. Remove the dough out of the bowl. Gently press down the dough and cut the dough into 12 pieces. Allow the dough rest for 15 minutes. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle, about 8 cm. Fold the dough and roll into a small batard. Repeat with the other 11 pieces.

7. Cover the shaped dough; let rise until almost doubled in volume, about 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°C. Before baking, brush the dough with egg wash and use a scissor to cut the top of the dough.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden.

  • *During the first rise, my dough took about 1 1/2 hours to double in size.

  • *During the second rise in the refrigerator, my dough got really hard because of the fat content of the cream. It didn't look like it was rising very much in the fridge. I took out the dough and allowed it to rest for about 30 minutes before I cut it.

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