Trifling with Tiramisu

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I remember the first time I had tiramisu. It was at a restaurant in Male’. It must’ve been about 10 years ago and my palette hadn’t developed enough for me to enjoy coffee yet. Maybe eating tiramisu is how I acclimatised to coffee and started enjoying it, but I remember how light, delicate and amazing it was and instantly tiramisu became my favourite dessert.

Finding a good tiramisu when eating out has been a rather hit and miss affair. There would be times when I found an amazing tiramisu at a local restaurant but then a year later, they’ve taken it off the menu! You can imagine how bitterly disappointed I was at this.

One of the most delectable tiramisu’s was here in Melbourne at Sarti. It was layered and hot and cold! That was certainly a treat but I am always on the lookout for a better tiramisu.

It took me a while to find the perfect tiramisu recipe. The first one I attempted was a chocolate one and it was quite a failure. I didn’t soak the sponge enough and didn’t leave enough time for it to set either. I think one my friends still measures my cooking abilities by that tiramisu!

This tiramisu trifle is adapted from a Neil Perry recipe. He soaks the sponge fingers in a sweet French wine but I’ve used just coffee. Mr Perry also suggests that mascarpone can be replaced by whipped cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar.

Tips:
– Use fresh eggs
– Whip the cream till it’s nice and thick and forms soft peaks. If it’s under-whipped the tiramisu doesn’t set (which happened to me on the first go) and if it’s over-whipped, the cream turns to butter (which has also happened to me before).
– Make sure the coffee is cooled before you dip the sponge fingers. If it’s too hot, the sponge fingers will start breaking before it is soaked through.

Ingredients:
– 1 packet sponge finger biscuits
– 50g dark chocolate, for grating
– 3 cups strong black coffee
– 1 punnet of raspberries
– 1 punnet of blueberries (frozen berries can be used too, once it’s thawed)
Mascarpone filling
– 2 egg yolks
– 80g caster sugar
– 250g mascarpone
– 100g thickened cream
– 80g egg whites (about 2)

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Method:
– Make the mascarpone filling. Combine egg yolks and half the caster sugar and whisk it till it’s pale and thick. Add the mascarpone and mix with a metal spoon till it’s mixed well.
– Whip the thickened cream till it becomes thick and forms soft peaks. Fold in the cream to the mascarpone mixture and fold gently.
– Whisk the egg whites until it forms soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar gradually until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Fold this gently into the mascarpone mixture.
– Soak the sponge fingers in coffee and put in the bottom of the glasses. You may have to break them in half. Add a dollop of mascarpone filling and then add the berries on top. Repeat this layering again, reserving some berries to serve.
– When layering is completed and mixture is divided into about 6 dessert glasses, grate the dark chocolate on top.
– Chill for at least 2 hours.

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This is a fantastic dessert to make well ahead. When my coffee loving friend and her boyfriend came to dinner, this was the perfect dessert to make for them. I made this in the morning and my husband made a fantastic beef ragu and inadvertently we had an Italian theme. It was very tasty!

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