At least I do think this is authentic according to the research I’ve done. I really do love this recipe as I’m always looking for traditional or authentic versions of food but when I try to google recipes, different variations of them always crops up. This is especially true with chocolate cheesecakes. I’m not really a fan of cheesecake to begin with so I’m not really sure what a chocolate cheesecake is supposed to be but I’m pretty sure it’s not made with an Oreo crust (please do correct me if I’m wrong).
Anyway, back to the topic at hand, this Tiramisu recipe calls for some things that are not readily available to me in Malaysia so I tweaked it to this:
- 3 egg whites
- 6 egg yolks
- 3+3 tbsp. castor (fine granulated) sugar
- 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup fresh coffee
- 2 tbsp. brandy
- 3-4 dozen ladyfingers
- Whip the egg whites with 3 tbsp. of sugar in a clean bowl until you get stiff peaks.
- Add remaining 3 tbsp. of sugar to the egg yolks and beat till it turns a pale yellow colour.
- Add mascarpone cheese to the egg yolk mixture and beat until they’re well combined.
- Gently fold in the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk and mascarpone mixture.
- Combine the coffee and liquor in a flat dish.
- Dip ladyfingers in the coffee mixture and line them immediately in a springform pan.
- After lining pan with 1 layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, top off the layer with half the egg and mascarpone mixture. Repeat this process one more time to ahve exactly 2 of the same layers in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for not more than 24 hours.
- Dust the top evenly with cocoa powder right before serving.
Further elaboration on each step:
- What you’ll find most common in recipes that call for whipped egg whites is that they require you to do it in a clean bowl. Now I’m sure if you cook or bake whether for yourself or for other people, you’re gonna use clean utensils anyway. So when you read/hear clean bowl, what it means is that there shouldn’t be any droplets of water or residue of dishwashing soap in it. There should also not be even a single drop of egg yolk in your whites. Also, egg whites whip well in either steel or glass bowls at room temperature. If you’ve read about my failed Tiramisu, you’ll know that beating eggs by hand would probably work but it takes really long and can be really exhausting. Making sure the eggs are properly whipped ensures the whole Tiramisu holds its structure well. The best and easiest way to get soft, hard, or stiff peaks on egg whites would be to use an electric hand/stand mixer. I don’t time myself when I whip eggs but I do observe my stand mixer closely to make sure they don’t get overwhipped. This video shows the different stages of whipping egg whites and really helped me out a lot when I started out in baking.
- The original recipe instructs us to whip the egg yolks till it collects on top of itself when the beater is lifted out of the mixture. I wasn’t quite as patient even when using an electric mixer. Perhaps it was the attachment I was using. If I remember correctly I think I used the paddle attachment but it would probably would have been better with the whisk (I will let you know when I try this again).
- The recipe calls for 8 oz. of mascarpone cheese. Here along the equator, we use grams and kg so 8 oz. equals 227 grams. A lot of standard packets of anything over here come in either 227 or 250 grams. I’ve interchanged them often when it comes to cheese or butter and found it doesn’t make much of a difference. If you are in Malaysia, you’ll know mascarpone cheese comes under “fancy” ingredients and you won’t be able to get them easily at any supermarket or grocery store. I get mine usually from Cold Storage. I just use this whole 250 g packet for 1 Tiramisu.
- Now, why you need to gently fold in egg whites is because they tend to deflate. You’ll find even when you have whipped them nicely but wait too long before folding them in, there would be some deflated eggs caught at the bottom of the bowl once you transfer them to another bowl. Basically, I think they’re quite “volatile”. It doesn’t spoil but you don’t want unwhipped egg whites in your Tiramisu.
- The original recipe calls for freshly pulled espresso. I couldn’t find espresso and I don’t have an espresso machine. I did manage to find some regular coffee powder at my most frequented baking ingredients store. I mixed about 5-6 tsp. of this coffee powder in a regular mug of hot water. I did this before I started anything else so it would have time to cool to room temperature. Trust me, you want to do this. You’ll find the consequence of adding in ingredients that are too hot in my failed ice cream pie. The original recipe called for amaretto or spiced rum. However the recipe I used for my Christmas fruitcake last year allowed me to interchange rum and brandy so I decided to the same thing again since I already had the leftover brandy.
- Step 5 mentioned mixing the coffee and liquor in a flat small dish. Now the first time I made this Tiramisu I did this in a small flat dish as well. My friends reviewed it saying it probably needed more alcohol. Now I didn’t want to oversoak the ladyfingers (which, again, if you’ve read about my failed Tiramisu attempt you’d know was a big fear of mine), so I literally placed the ladyfinger 1 side down, lifted it up, turned it over, placed it other side down and immediately lined the pan. The whole process probably took 1 second instead of dipping for 1-2 seconds as instructed in the original recipe. When I attempted this recipe a second time (this time only coffee, as it was for people who don’t take alcohol), I decided to leave the coffee in the mug and dip the ladyfingers there instead. This caused the ladyfingers to become slightly oversoaked. Next attempt, I’m gonna follow exactly 1-2 seconds but in the small flat dish, that should work better.
- The original recipe calls for an 8×8 square pan or tiny individual sized glass ramekins. I used a 7 1/2 inch round springform pan. The portion was perfect. I doubled this recipe later on for the non-alcoholic version to make it in a 9 inch round springform pan to serve more people. As you know, the larger one was more soggy because of slightly oversoaked ladyfingers. But both Tiramisus stood up straight as I released them from the pans unlike my first doomed Tiramisu so that itself was a big accomplishment for me.
- Why I added the word evenly to this step was because of this. It would turn out to be quite unsightly if you don’t ensure it’s even. This was my tiramisu with an uneven dusting of cocoa powder.
Hope this helps in making your first tiramisu! Good luck and let me know how it goes!