Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tiramisu: The Cake of Homeliness and Love

Many of my friends have been asking my recipe for tiramisu. It looks like the secret is not longer one!

Known for it's ability to kick one's moral with its strong coffee flavour, or to soothe people's distress with the suave effect from coffee liqueur,* tiramisu is one of the most appreciated dessert in the world.

Different legends about this delicious treat has been conceived. Among the many that I have heard, my favourite one is the cake of home and love: at a time of war, a wife prepared a treat with mascarpone cheese, coffee and alcohol for her husband before he leaves for service. Prepared in a long rectangular shape, the husband would cut out a piece and eat the cake each day, thinking and missing his wife.

Although I cannot assert the genuineness of the legend, it fundamentally carries the etymological meaning of "Tiramisu," which according to many sources, is translated as "pick me up" in English from Italian. Whether it is a soldier consuming it before its assignment, a customer chugging it as a "ritual" in a café before engaging with a prostitute, or a husband savouring it while missing his wife, this cake strengthens the eater's mental and physical state and builds up the romantic conception of "homeliness." 

Alright, less talk.

(Coffee mix)
4 tsp instant coffee
10 tbsp hot water
6 tbsp milk/cream
3 tbsp coffee liqueur

(cheese filling)
500 ml whipping cream
8 tbsp sugar
450-500 g mascarpone cheese
6 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp coffee liqueur

600g (1 1/2 bag) Lady fingers

1. Boil water and prepare the coffee. When it is all mixed, let it cool down to room temperature.
2. In a mixer, beat the whipping cream. Add in 4 tbsp of sugar in three separate times. Ideally, the first time when the cream is not whipped. The second time when the cream reaches a thicker consistency and the last time when the whipped cream reaches soft peak. In total, it should take about 6 or 7 minutes at maximum speed to reach the ideal consistency, which is hard peak. Remove it and let it sit in the fridge.

3. Place the mascarpone cheese in the mixer and beat until it becomes creamy. then add in 4 tbsp of sugar. When the sugar is incorporated, add in coffee liqueur. After the coffee is well mixed with the cheese, it is time to add cocoa powder.

4. After mixing well the cocoa powder, add in the whipping cream in 3 separate times. When all is incorporated, it is ready to prepare the cake.
5. For a circle shaped cake, cut 1/4 of each lady fingers to define the edge.

6. Dip one side of each cookie in the cooled-to-room-temperature coffee mix and place the dipped part facing up. This will ensure that the cookie is not too mushy when serving. Make the first stack.

7. Add the mascarpone cheese filling and spread.
8. Repeat step 6-7 as needed for each layer.
9. When you finish all the layers, sprinkle a generous amount of cocoa powder -- for the aesthetic and for the taste.
10. When it is ready, let it sit in the fridge overnight for the alcohol to settle down.

Best serve with a dark espresso without sugar.

Good luck and enjoy!

* Please do not consume alcohol when distressed.

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