Most of the time the recipes that I post here are my own version of something which I have imagined and then created. Occasionally I lean more heavily on a recipe from a book or website, but by and large, I just make this stuff up. I have a fairly extensive cookbook collection, but I rarely cook from them, I just use the recipes, anecdotes and pictures as inspiration. Before I make something, I deconstruct it in my head and try to figure out all the elements and how they fit together and in what proportion. Then I make it and see how it turns out. I’m proud to say I have a pretty good ‘batting average’ when it comes to new recipes, but even a ‘failure’ is usually consumable, just not all that it was meant to be. I share the ones that work and re-work the ones that don’t. Some recipes are a bigger ‘risk’ or better put: further out of my comfort zone or my immediate knowledge.
This tiramisu was a bit of a gamble.
I have had tiramisu many times, but I’d never made it. I understood the basic building blocks and I knew what the finished product should be like, but all the steps in between were a bit foggy. I considered looking up a few recipes online first, but decided against it. I wanted it, however it turned out, to be my version. So I jumped right in.
It worked. It has all the richness you could ask for but the unmistakable lightness as well. It’s boozy, but not over powering and the texture is soft and unctuous but not complete mush. Is it entirely traditional? No, I don’t think so. But it looks like tiramisu, smells like tiramisu and most importantly tastes like tiramisu. I’m going to go ahead and call this one a winner. Let me know what you think.
1 400g package of crisp Italian ladyfinger cookies
1 cup of very strong coffee or espresso
2 tablespoons Bailey’s liquer
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 cups ( one 454g tub) of mascarpone cheese (substitute cream cheese if you can’t find mascarpone)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder for sprinkling on top
Prepare the coffee and stir in the Bailey’s. In the bottom of a 9×13 dish, arrange an even layer of ladyfingers.
Drizzle with half the coffee mixture, ensuring each cookie gets doused. Whatever is in the bottom of the pan will be absorbed.
Next, make the mascarpone cream. Start by beating together the eggs and sugar with a wire whisk in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering – not boiling – water).
Cook the egs and sugar, stirring almost constantly for about 10 minutes until the mixture is a very pale and thickened custard. You’ll know it’s thickened enough when you lift your whisk the custard drips and makes an obvious ribbon on the surface. Remove from heat, continuing to stir it until it is warm but no longer hot, about 3 minutes.
Add the mascarpone, 1 cup at a time, stirring to incorporate before adding more. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in the sour cream. Pour half the mascarpone cream over the layer of soaking ladyfingers, smoothing it with the back of a spoon to get it into the corners.
Repeat with a second layer of ladyfingers, drizzle on the rest of the coffee and top with the remaining mascarpone cream.
Sift the cocoa over top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.