Daring Bakers February: Tiramisu

Updated below!

Finally the deer eaters are back among the Daring Bakers after having missed both December's and January's challenges. This one was far too good to miss (and the rules won't let us anyway, not if we want to remain in the fabulous kitchen posse which is the Daring Bakers), because in February we are making one of our favorite desserts: Tiramisu.
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.
As I said, Tiramisu is not a stranger to our table. The one we usually make (from the modern Swedish classic cookbook Nya Annas Mat by Anna Bergenström) can be put together in half an hour, plus some chillin' time. But this being the Daring Bakers, there was of course a much more involved recipe, coming from Baltimore pastry chef Carminantonio Iannaccone. This tiramisu certainly isn't one you make in half an hour, and the challenge also required us to make the savoiardi biscuits and mascarpone cheese ourselves!

Savoiardi biscuits with their snowy dusting of confectioner's sugar.

Markus started the day before with making the mascarpone while I was in Stockholm celebrating my mom's birthday by having dinner at Berns Bistro - delicious breast of duck with puy lentils and truffle sauce - and watching the musical Hairspray - both highly recommended if you happen to be in Stockholm! Markus says that making mascarpone was quite easy; the problem was knowing when it was done - what is "a few clear whey streaks"? It's also important to use quadruple cheesecloths for straining- we only have two and Markus thinks some mascarpone got lost in the process. Apart from that - way (whey!) cool that we now can make our own mascarpone! It looked and tasted just right! I love discovering how you can make cheese on your own - we have mastered ricotta earlier, and next up is either mozzarella or paneer.

So, the next day - and here I have to confess that "next day" means today, as in posting day, as in yes, we waited with the challenge until the very last minute again - we made the savoiardi biscuits, the zabaglione and the pastry cream. No major problems with any of these, we had forgotten to buy marsala and were out of both port and amaretto so we had to substitute coffee in the zabaglione, and vanilla extract is virtually unheard of in Sweden so instead we exchanged some of the sugar in the zabaglione and the pastry cream with homemade vanilla sugar.

After the chilling, it was time to assemble. We decided to skip sweetening the espresso, as we (correctly) assumed that the Tiramisu would be sweet enough without that additional sugar. And rum extract in the coffee? We of course went for the real deal - Captain Morgan! Lacking a suitable dish, we made individual Tiramisus in cocktail glasses. Not very traditional, but quite pretty!

We're sorry, but you have to wait until tomorrow to get the answer to the most important question: how did it taste? It's past midnight here (so really I'm posting this late) and we don't really feel like Tiramisu for a midnight snack today. But we promise to update the post tomorrow with the verdict!

In the meanwhile, go visit the Daring Kitchen to see all the other Daring Bakers' creations! Thank you Aparna and Deeba for a really nice challenge!

Yes, yes it was good. Very good. Very very good. As in, great that we still have some left in the fridge. As in, too bad I'm going away to work in an other city this week and have to leave Markus with that bowl all to himself. (Yeah, we made some in a bowl as well, besides the two pretty cocktail glass ones which were mainly to get good photos.)
I was worried that the coffee flavour would have been too much, with coffee both in the cream and for dipping the savoiardi (and I like coffee) but it wasn't, it was very balanced. I'm sure it would have been even better with marsala though, and will definitely get a bottle for next time.
But. I don't know if the pastry cream, with the extra work that entailed, really added that much to the end result. Texture-wise it made the tiramisu fluffier, which is nice, but I'm not sure that it made much difference to the flavour.
Homemade mascarpone and savoiardi was definitely worth it though, and neither of those were difficult to make, so we'll do that in the future, but, I think, with our old tiramisu recipe. It uses raw eggs in the zabaglione which isn't a problem here in Sweden (yay for strict rules and salmonella testing) but which I know can be iffy elsewhere so I understand why a cooked zabaglione recipe was chosen for the challenge.
In sum, this was a great. We learned something. We were challenged. We got a really delicious result. We will do it again (at least parts of it). What more can you ask for? Thanks again Deeba and Aparna!


(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 (50 g)
60 ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
55 g sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour (8 g)
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
175 ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
235 ml chilled heavy cream
55 g sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
470 ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 tsp rum extract (optional)
110 g sugar
75 g mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (30 g)

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

For the pastry cream:
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.
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.)
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.

For the whipped cream:
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:
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.
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.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
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.
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.
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 (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


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.
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. 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
75 g granulated sugar
95 g cake flour, sifted (or all purpose flour with 2 tbsp cornstarch)
50 g confectioner's sugar


Preheat your oven to 175°C, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.


  1. I love your tiramisu in cocktail glasses(?). Yes, this is certainly no dessert whipped up in 30 minutes but isn't it so worth the time?

  2. I think you should have it for breakfast! I can assure you it will be delicious! It looks great. I made mine so over 3 weeks ago, and reading all these blogs makes me want to make another!

  3. This looks so pretty in the glasses - just beautiful :)

  4. Your Tiramisu is lovely. :) Great job on this challenge!

  5. I love the presentation! It looks absolutely fantastic =D.

  6. I had to click through because of the name of your blog...love it! And the tiramisu in the martini glasses was genius. Hope it tasted wonderful!

  7. They look so pretty! I wish I had waited to make mine till the last day: I'm jealous you still get to eat yours!

  8. The challenge was definitely too good to miss! I hope it tasted as good as it looked. Love the cocktail glasses idea!

  9. Love the idea with the cocktail glasses! Good job!

  10. Love your presentation! Looks so creamy and delicious!

  11. I waited till the last day to make mine too and ened up finishing both of them pretty quickly..so yummy. That said..your beautiful parfait like tiramisus look divine. It;s funny how you're the antithesis of me when it comes to coffee..lol Stunted growth was something I heard whenever I asked to taste it as child..lol

  12. Love the idea of serving it in a martini glass. Tres chic!