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 was a multi-step challenge which included making our own marscapone, pastry cream, zabaglione, and ladyfingers. The marscapone was easy to make and so rich and smooth - I loved it just by itself! The pastry cream, zabaglione, marscapone and sweetened whipped cream were combined for the filling for the tiramisu. So, several different processes, all of which required rich ingredients and time for chilling. The ladyfingers required piping and we know piping is not my forte. Fortunately, the cooked ladyfingers weren't quite as lumpy and uneven looking as the raw version. No pictures - too embarrassing.
The ladyfingers are dipped quickly in sweetened coffee. I did this really fast because I didn't want them to be soggy and I also didn't want a really strong coffee flavor. I've had tiramisu in which the predominant flavor was coffee and I didn't find it too appealing. The ladyfingers were laid in the dish, covered with some of the tiramisu mixture, then more ladyfingers and more creamy yumminess and then a final layer of each. The whole creation then went back into the refrigerator to chill.
When I served it, the creamy part was much softer than I expected. I decided freezing it would have produced a better product, at least as far as presentation goes. The tiramisu was dusted with cocoa powder and served with tart cherries. It disappeared quickly into Bob's tummy! The coffee flavor was not pronounced and the tart cherries were a nice counterpoint to the rest of the dish.
I froze the remaining tiramisu overnight and tried again. This time, the result was much more satisfactory! The layers are obvious, the custardy filling is firm and there is a shape. I put mini-chocolate chips on top, instead of cocoa powder, and used pomegranate seeds for a little extra tartness and crunch. I think this was a much better approach than letting it firm up (or not) in the refrigerator.
Probably not a dessert I would make often - so many steps and so much time in-between steps - but I did love the marscapone and would definitely make my own in the future. I cannot buy marscapone at my closest grocery store on any reliable basis, so it is good to know there is an alternative to driving 20-25 miles round trip to Metropolitan Market.