26 February 2010

Daring Baker's Challenge - Tiramisu... or Mocha Misu to be more accurate.

There are days when everything seems to go wrong. When you wonder who's cat you ran over in a previous life and really do question your sanity.

So many things went wrong with this months Daring Baker's Challenge that I was wondering if I was ever going to get this one finished.

First I overwhipped my cream to the point of almost curdling it – it tasted great – but it had that strange texture where you do second guess actually putting it in your mouth to check.

Then I made the biscuits but forgot to grease the baking tray and they alll stuck… thanks to Jamie from Life's a Feast for some much needed support and ressaurance that this was - honestly! -  a very forgiving dessert!

Don't get me started on the Mascarpone because I just don't know where to start. I do know that I threw out a white sticky brick that was once a tub of cream. That's all I can offer.

And then, while piping my cream onto my "pretty" biscuits - my piping bag exploded. My husband could do nothing but watch and laugh (from a safe position) as I called the dog in to "clean up" my kitchen floor as I just didn't have the heart to go get the mop mid-assembly. He redeemed himlsef by creating me a quick-fix piping bag just to get the job finished.

However - when it came time to take the photos - we discovered that "Someone" had stood on my handbag containing my camera and broken it. So I do apologise for the quality of the photos. Most were taken on my Iphone, and seeing as I did this recipe at 10pm, some were also taken with hubby holding a torch over my head - desperate to get some light!

So, with all "challenges" beaten - I did, finally get my Tiramisu finished and it was lovely. The only alteration I made to the original recipe was that I made a Coffee Zabaglione and a Chocolate Zabaglione so my dessert ended up being a Mocha-Misu.

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.

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)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ vanilla extract

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
2 tablespoons/30gms cocoa powder

For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or 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 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.


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

474ml / 2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a pan. 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.
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,

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.

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.

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.


  1. Your baking experience sounds remarkably like mine - but your mocha misu looks like you had a very happy ending! It looks great, and I am continuing to enjoy reading your blog.

  2. You did a wonderful job, despite all the trouble you ran into.

  3. I love your mochamisu! Love the mirror you used on the first picture. Very nicely done :)

  4. That still looks fantastic, despite your troubles. Kudos to you for sticking with it and finishing the challenge. Love the mocha flavouring

  5. BIG HUG first, a real big one. Gosh I read your dramatic tale on the foprum and didn't know whether to weep or laugh. It was both tragic an\d funny...but that bag exploding certainly too the cake! Made my eyes bigger too! LOL... after all that, can see what a fab dessert you've laid out. WOW! Pereseverance must be your middle name. Thanks for taking to the challenge so wholeheartedly. I loved being host too. And oh yes, with Jamie, you are always in safe hands! {HUGS}

  6. Aww no so sorry to hear that you had so much trouble. But if it's any consolation it looks perfect! :D

  7. Oh dear, surely three is the maximum number of things that are allowed to go wrong at one time! So sorry to hear about your misadventures. You made it through though, with dessert to console yourself with :) And yes, tiramisu is incredibly forgiving - the end result of yours looks really fantastic :)

  8. Sitting at intnl airport waiting to go to Auck. Visited the site & loved the commentary on food & life. Very entertaining for someone who can't cook. Believe Pauly is looking to have lunch today. We delivered the blanket to Scarlette last night so she has all this spare time now. Will look for the write up on thar one. much Love. Tony

  9. Mocha-Misu :)) it has a really nice ring to it..

    I'm so glad you were able to overcome all those challenges and at the end enjoy the Mocha-Misu

  10. Aw, thanks for the shout out and so glad I could help and encourage. Maybe it made me feel better as I was pouring my horrid excuse for what was supposed to be mascarpone down the drain!

    And if that is your Tiramisu then it seems it all turned out more than perfect! It is too pretty and inviting! And mocha? Yum I do love it! I think you did a fabulous and scrumptious job!

  11. Oh dear, what a trial and a half for a dessert! But, a very decent-looking one at that =)

  12. Oh no - terrible misadventures! I would simply freak if I someone broke my camera. Anyway, I do hope the tiramisu was worth it! It does look yummy.

  13. Ooooh noooo! I feel your pain, although admittedly things like this mostly happen to me when making the kids' birthday cakes the night before the birthday :P

    Looks like this one was worth all the hassle though - my mouth is watering!!!!

  14. Your tiramisu is awesome! For a torchlight photo, it looks better than mine taken right outside my terrace with drops of raining falling down. Darn weather! just when I wanted to take my DB photo, it started to rain. Had to do a quick one before rain ruin my tiramisu. LOL!

  15. I HAD to come visit as soon as I saw the word 'disaster' in the forum:)
    I think the finished product looks fantastic, though, and that's great after all the trouble you had. Your photos are still better than mine, despite the trying circumstances. Nicely done--a true DB!

  16. Great job on the Tiramisu! Your drama with this months challenge sound very familiar to what I deal with since I have 7 & 8 year old boys :)

  17. Some days are like that but your tiramisu looks lovely! Bet your not making this one again!

  18. That heart on top is just the sweetest thing. Great job on the challenge, your cake looks beautiful.

  19. Wow! You really had to jump through hoops to get this challenge done! At least you persevered, and from the look of your Tiramisu, it doesn't look as though you had a problem in the world while putting it together :) I hope that "someone" is going to get you a new camera for your troubles :)