Tiramisu……Valentine’s Day Special

Tiramisu….(which means “pick me up”), is a very popular coffee flavored Italian dessert. It is basically made of ladyfinger cookies dipped in expresso or coffee which is then topped off with layers of rich and creamy custard and whipped cream mixture and is finished off with lighted dusted cocoa powder on top.

I first had this lip smacking dessert in an Italian restaurant located in Mumbai few years back. It was hubby (who, back then was my boyfriend :P) who introduced me to this fabulous melt in your mouth Italian delicacy. I simply loved the combination of cookies and custard with coffee. The second time I had it was in the form of a cake for my very first birthday after I moved post marriage to New Jersey. And boy ohhh boy…. I was in love with Tiramisu!!!

Curiosity kicked in and I started searching for the recipe online. And to my surprise I found out that it was one of the easiest dessert to make at home. So the first time around I followed the original recipe which calls for raw egg yolks and it turned out really good. But this time around I played safe and tried the other version in which the egg yolk mixture is cooked on a double boiler. This turned out even better than my last version and tasted absolutely divine. So this recipe is definitely a keeper if you want to avoid raw eggs altogether. 

Here’s what you will need:

(Makes 6 servings)

18- 20 Italian ladyfinger cookies (savoiardi
3 egg yolks
8 oz (225g) – Mascarpone cheese 
1/4 cup and 1 tbsp of sugar 
1/3 cup of milk
3/4 cup (175ml) of heavy whipping cream 
2 tsp of vanilla essence 
1/2 cup of expresso or strong brewed coffee (I used freshly brewed expresso)
Cocoa powder for dusting or bittersweet chocolate shavings (optional)

For the custard:

First up, whisk the egg yolks, 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla essence in a heat proof bowl until the mixture turns pale yellow in color. Now place this bowl on a saucepan with simmering water. Cook the egg yolk mixture on a medium flame while stirring it continuously. Now gradually add the milk in parts. After about 8-10mins the mixture will thicken. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and allow it to cool. 
Add the mascarpone cheese to the cooled egg yolk mixture and mix well with an electric mixer or a wire whisk until smooth. Set this aside. 

In another bowl add heavy cream. Whisk the heavy cream with an electric mixer and add about 1 tbsp of sugar gradually to the heavy cream. Whisk until the heavy cream forms stiff peaks or you can simply turn the bowl upside down, if the cream doesn’t fall off its ready 😛

Now fold the heavy cream slowly and gradually into the egg yolk and mascarpone mixture. 

In a wide bowl pour the expresso or strong coffee. Add about a tbsp of sugar (optional) and 1 tsp of vanilla essence. Many people also add marsala wine or even rum to the coffee. I did not add any. 

Now its time to assemble the tiramisu.

Have an approximately 9 inch square dish ready. Dip both sides of the lady fingers in the expresso/coffee very quickly and line them on the bottom of the dish. Now spoon in half of the custard and spread it over the ladyfingers. Dust it with cocoa powder. Repeat the same procedure to make a second layer.

Cover the dish with a plastic cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hrs until set. Tiramisu tastes best when made a day before. So it would be best if kept overnight in the refrigerator before serving.  

The eggless version:

Now for those who are vegetarians and wish for an eggless version you can easily skip the egg yolk mixture part. Instead just whisk the mascarpone cheese with sugar and fold in the whipped cream and follow the rest of the recipe.

And the best part…you can make this ahead of time for any of your special occasions.

This dessert is my hubby’s favorite and I made this for him today 🙂

So guys, isn’t this an absolutely easy dessert to make especially for valentine’s day? I think it is…..so go ahead and give it a try and let me know how it was.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 😀

Chocolate Truffles

I never realized making chocolate truffles was so easy until i searched for the recipe online. I tried my hands on making this yummy sweets when hubby and me were in New Jersey. The idea hit me when we shopped for a bag full of chocolates from a store in New York (apparently we had a groupon which was about to expire :P) and when we were back home, i just couldn’t get over the complimentary truffle i had at the store. 
And trust me guys you can never go wrong with this. Unbelievably easy to make, this no bake dessert can me made on any special occasion. And the best part of all, you can make it before hand. Try this and you will never run to the stores again to buy the expensive stuff.
All you need is just 4 ingredients and a little bit of patience.
This recipe makes approximately 10-12 truffles.
Semi sweet chocolate or dark chocolate – 113gms (make sure its a good quality chocolate, chocolate bar or chocolate chips, whatever you can get your hands on). You can also use regular chocolate instead semi-sweet if required, but i find semi-sweet to be more delicious.

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1 tbsp butter

Cocoa powder for coating.

Break or cut the chocolate bar into small pieces into a bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan heat heavy cream and butter until you see small bubbles appearing at the sides of the saucepan. Pour this hot cream and butter mixture into the chocolate and stir this mixture until the chocolate is completely melted. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. After keeping this mixture overnight, you will notice that it is hard. With the help of a spoon, scrape and remove a little amount of the chocolate and roll it in between your palms to make small chocolate balls (it will be a little sticky and messy because of the body heat). Roll the chocolate balls in cocoa powder and generously coat them. Chill the truffles in the refrigerator for few hours before serving.

The truffles can also be coated with powdered sugar, desiccated coconut, nuts or even with colorful sprinkles.

Give it try and let me know how they were 🙂

Happy Cooking.