Jul 29, 2012

Chocolate Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a luxurious, creamy, and oh-so-boozy dessert. By layering sweetened mascarpone and ladyfingers drugged in rum and espresso you've got quite the killer combination.  If this dessert wasn't a glutton-gone-wild before, it is now.  The addition of melted chocolate brings the sweetness and intensity of the tiramisu to a whole new level.  Chocolate and espresso have always been a match made in taste-bud heaven.  They pair together like peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, cheese and wine, Beavis and Butthead.  Oh no wait, well sort of, they're not food, anyway you know what I mean. 

The longer you allow the dessert to sit and marinate, the richer it will be.  This is always the hardest part of cooking...waiting.  My husband took this photo last week while I was waiting for some cookies to finish baking in the oven.  Usually I don't sit like a puppy and wait for the timer to go off but I was testing a new recipe and wanted to watch them puff-up in action.  More on those later on.

I suggest you assemble the tiramisu before you go to bed and have it for breakfast.  Yes there is rum but it's surrounded by cream and ladyfingers, and even some eggs (eggs are always good for breakfast!), so really the booze is just an accessory here.  If you ever need an excuse to buy shoes or have boozy desserts for breakfast, I'm your girl. 

There are many, MANY, recipes out there for tiramisu.  The ingredients really don't vary too much.  Mascarpone, lady fingers, cream, sugar, eggs, espresso, rum, and sometimes raw eggs.  Ick.  I don't know how people in this day and age with all the worry over food safety can still consume raw, uncooked eggs.  Even if Martha Stewart herself prepared something specially for me with raw egg I would probably tell her I'm allergic.  I just can't bring myself to do it, doesn't seem worth the risk.

With this recipe however, you cook the custard mixture over a double broiler until the temperature reaches a safe 160 degrees F.  An instant-read thermometer here is key.  The use of the double broiler is also very important.  If you were to cook the custard mixture directly over heat (in a saucepan for example) you also run the risk of scrambling your eggs.  The indirect heat (steam) from the double broiler allows the mixture to cook evenly without any scorching.

I prepared this tiramisu in a trifle dish, but you can easily swap it out for individual serving cups, or even a cake pan.  Really anything will work, it's just a matter of how you want to present it.  The recipe below will make a large quantity (enough to fill the trifle) so if you're looking to make 4 individual servings for a dinner party, you may have quite a bit left over...nothing wrong with that of course.

And lastly...this dessert is not low-cal.  Not low-sugar.  Not low-fat and definitely not a Weight Watchers friendly dessert (we're talking around 800 calories a serving, can you feel your arteries tighten?)  It is not low-anything.  It's heavy, and fatty, and amazing.    This is a special occasion treat you would make for the ones you love...or the ones you think are too skinny.

Chocolate Tiramisu
printable version


2 1/2 cups strong, brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso granules (not instant coffee)
5 tablespoons dark rum (I used Captain Morgan)

2 3/4 cups mascarpone, divided
4 Tablespoons PLUS 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
48 lady fingers (approx, depending on the size of your dish)

cocoa for dusting


Stir the coffee, espresso, and rum in a wide bowl until the espresso dissolves.  Set aside.

Combine the 2 cups mascarpone, 4 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to blend; cover and chill.

Place one tablespoon of water in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the water.  Do not dump the gelatin in otherwise you could end up with lumps.  Let stand until the gelatin softens, about 10-15 minutes.

Whisk the remaining sugar, yolks, 1/4 cup cream, and 1/4 cup water in a medium metal bowl to blend. Place bowl over a large saucepan of boiling water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water) and whisk constantly until custard thickens and temperature reaches 160° on an instant-read thermometer, This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depends on your cooker.

Remove bowl from heat.  Add gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved, 15-20 seconds. Return bowl over water, add chocolate, and whisk until almost melted, about 30 seconds.

Set bowl in a large bowl of ice water and whisk until chocolate is melted and custard is cool, 5-6 minutes. Whisk in the remaining mascarpone. In another medium bowl, beat remaining 2 cups chilled cream until firm peaks form. Fold half of the cream into custard in 2 additions to make a chocolate mousse.  Save the remaining whipped cream for garnish.

Spread 1/4 of chocolate mousse in bottom of the trifle dish.   

For perfectly soaked ladyfinger, drop into the coffee, roll and remove within 2-3 seconds. You do not want the coffee to completely penetrate to the center of the cookie otherwise they become too soggy and your tiramisu will end up watery. Dunk ladyfingers one by one in the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer on top of the mousse.

Top with another layer of the mousse and a layer of dipped ladyfingers.

Spread the remaining sweetened mascarpone over the top of the ladyfingers.

Continue layering with the remaining mousse, about two more layers.  Add one last layer of lady fingers and then top with the remaining whipped cream.

Lightly dust with cocoa powder.  Let sit for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Dig in.  I mean really dig in and get to that middle layer.  Every bite is heaven I promise you.  The tiramisu will only GET BETTER over the next few days as the coffee mixture slowly seeps into the cookies.


Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit & America's Test Kitchen

Jul 3, 2012

Bailey's & Chocolate Cream Pie

Really this post was supposed to be about the Red, White, and Blue Zebra cake I made...but it had some 'blending' issues.  I was so hopeful this cake was going to turn out spectacular but something (ok, me) went wrong. 

If you're into Pinterest you may have seen lots of Zebra cakes floating around lately.  Basically a zebra cake is white and chocolate cake batter layered on top of each other in small amounts (about 1/4 cup per layer) like so:

Once it bakes the layers of batter take on a zebra like pattern

You know if I were friends with Snooki and was throwing her baby shower I would SO bake her a zebra cake...

Sorry Jersey Shore is the ultimate distraction.  Anyway, I though well what if I swirl red, white, and blue batter instead of the white and chocolate, assuming it would have the same effect.  Nope...not even a little bit.  I got a turquoise, purple, and spots o' red cake.  The colors they went a runnin'.  I wanted to call it a 'Firecracker' cake but I'd only be kidding myself.

Feeling pretty disappointed with myself and the Mardi Gras cake I figured the best thing to do to lift my spirits would be to bake something with booze.  Because doesn't everyone enjoy eating boozy treats for breakfast?  I found a vanilla rum cream pie recipe that sounded perfect, but yeh the boozers in the house drank all the Captain Morgan.  Shafted again!  Before declaring defeat for the week I figured let's try a chocolate and Bailey's cream pie because those are two ingredients for sure you can find in our house.

I've always been a bit hesitant to make cream pies out of fear of scrambling the egg yolks.  I've done this in the past with other recipes and it just gets nasty.  Ick.  Scrmbled eggs are only for breakfast and only with toast...not with a side of pie.

But since this blog is all about experimentation I figured let's go for it.  I already f'ed up the cake, if I end up with a scrambled egg pie I'd just finish off the Bailey's and call it a day.

But no the pie was amazing.  The chocolate cream is thick and rich, but still velvety smooth.  The mountain of whipped cream is light and sweet against the buttery, crispy crust.  Yep all your textures are covered.

Lastly, let me give you the secret to perfect cream pies.  Whisk.  Whisk.  Whisk.  And once your arm starts to cramp, keep whisking.  If you end up with a numb arm you're guaranteed a perfect pie.  You should also strain the mixture through a fine sieve before pouring into the pie shell.  This step guarantees a silky, smooth finish in case any little bits of egg did cook and want to 'lump' around in your pie.  Naughty eggs. 

Happy 4th of July!

Bailey's & Chocolate Cream Pie
makes one 9" pie
printable version

For the crust: (This makes 2 tart shells.  You can freeze the other dough and use at a later time)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1/3 cup ice water

For the pie filing:
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder (not instant coffee)
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup Bailey's
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To prepare the crust, add flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Add chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 8-10 seconds.  The mixture should NOT come into a ball at this point.  It should still be loose and crumbly.

With the food processor running, slowly add the cold water (be sure to remove the ice first!) down the feed tube.  Continue running the processor until the dough starts to slowly come together.  It shouldn't be wet or sticky at this point.  Do not pulse longer than 30 seconds. 

Place two pieces of plastic wrap on your counter and equally divide the dough (a kitchen scale is helpful here to guarantee two equal portions).  Pick up either side of the plastic wrap and gently pull the mixture into a ball. 

Gently flatten the dough into a thin disk.  This will help with rolling out the dough later.

Chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator prior to rolling.

On a lightly dusted counter roll out dough to a 1/8" thickness.  Roll dough onto your rolling pin and un-roll over your tart pan.  Trim off any excess dough by rolling pin over the top of the pan.  The dough should slice off.  If you're using a pie dish, roll dough into dish and trim edges, leaving a 1" over-hang.  Tuck overhang under dough so edges are flush with rim, and crimp edges. Lightly prick bottom of dough with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line dough with parchment, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake until edges begin to turn gold, 15 to 18 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment. Place back into the oven and bake until bottom and sides are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare the filling, cream together egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand up mixer.  

Whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Be sure to sift your cocoa powder.  Without sifting these clumps of cocoa could have lurked into the mixture causes ugly lumps down the road. 

Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and sugar mixture and mix to combine.  With your mixer on the lowest speed, add the milk and Bailey's, mix till combined.

Pour mixture into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until boiling.  Continue whisking for another two minutes while the mixture boils. Remove from heat and pour through a fine sieve to catch any lumps of egg that may have cooked. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Cool slightly, then pour mixture into pastry shell.

Chill for at least 4 hours (over night is best!)

To prepare the whipped cream, add the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Starting on low, slowly beat the cream.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture begins to thicken.  Increase speed to the highest setting and beat until peaks form. 

Give your pie a generous dollop of cream and let the fireworks begin!