Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Almost Better Than Sex…

Well folks, I pleased to announce that I developed two new dishes for this year’s Valentine’s Day extravaganza at our house—and my efforts included a true “Redneck Gourmet” dinner last night consisting of Baked Eggplant Parmesan and a dessert called Tiramisu. Unfortunately I got so busy cooking the Eggplant dish that I completely forgot the Balsamic Vinegar dressed salad, but who noticed…??

I’m taking the liberty of cross posting the Tiramisu recipe that I improvised on my other blog, What I'd Liked To Have Said. The results were awesome, if I do say so myself. My only problem will be reproducing my results again with any consistency, but I’m gonna give it my best shot in the future.

And now…as to the ingredients:

For the coffee sauce:

1-1/2 to 2 cups strong, Strong, STRONG Coffee (make it double what you drink)
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp Kahlua liqueur
2 tbsp Grand Mariner liqueur

For the Zabaglione filling (it’s basically a custard):

4 egg yolks
½ cup of sugar
½ cup Marsala Wine
(2) 8 OZ containers of room temperature Mascarpone Cheese
(1) cup heavy whipping crème

And Finally:

About 4 dozen ladyfingers
Bittersweet coco powder
Small block of semi-sweet dark chocolate

This looks tougher than it really is, just be patient, stay organized, and get ready to dirty up virtually every mixing bowl in your kitchen.

First you make your coffee. As I said in the recipe listing—STRONG coffee—even Espresso if you have a machine. Make the coffee ahead of time, stir in the sugar, and then let it cool off to room temperature. Now add your Kahlua and Grand Mariner. Dump the cooled mixture in a medium saucer or appropriately sized mixing bowl for later use.

Meanwhile your Mascarpone Cheese and your eggs should be sitting around on the countertop coming up to room temperature.

Crack your eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Some Tiramisu recipes call for whipping up the whites and including them in the Zabaglione filling, but being the wasteful bastard that I am I just tossed my egg whites down the drain. I’m such a pig…

The egg yolks end up on the stovetop in a double boiler over medium heat. Ideally the water in the lower boiler doesn’t touch the bottom of the upper boiler. The idea is to whisk the egg yolks until they are nice and frothy, then add the ½ cup of sugar and the Marsela wine and keep whisking and cooking the mixture over the steam until it thickens, about 10 minutes on my stove.

When you have a minute you can take a spatula and mush up your Mascarpone Cheese in a large mixing bowl, and you need to beat your whipping cream with an electric mixer in YET ANOTHER MIXING BOWL until it forms stiff peaks.

Don’t worry too much, because you are NOW through dirtying up bowls and pots by now (I actually still had a dozen or so clean ones waiting in the wings if I needed them…), except for the 9” x 13” Pyrex dish that you are going to use to put the desert together in.

By now you should have one bowl of room temperature coffee, one bowl of well whipped “whipping crème”, and one bowl of Zabaglione filling.

Is that what you have? If not, step back from the stove and figure out where you went wrong.

After the Zabaglione filling has cooled off a bit, dump it into the bowl with the mascarpone cheese and mix it all up with the electric mixer.

Now “fold” your whipped crème into the mixture. By folding I mean not beating it with the mixer, just stir it up enough to combine it and get a uniform consistency. Don’t beat it to death or you will cause the crème to collapse.

Now comes the fun part—putting it all together.

One at a time, lightly dip both sides of your lady fingers into the coffee mixture, then neatly position ½ of them in the 9” x 13” pyrex dish to form a uniform single layer. Next you spoon ½ of your filling over the layer of ladyfingers and smooth it out. Now repeat the process with another full layer of ladyfingers, and top it all off with the rest of your filling mixture.

Smooth it out real nice and pretty.

Cover it with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours (mine sat overnight.)

When you are ready to serve your Tiramisu, pull it out of the fridge, sprinkle the coco powder evenly over the top, and shave some of the bittersweet chocolate into “curls” with a vegetable peeler (it helps if you refrigerate the chocolate block for a half hour before cutting your “curls.”)

Now cut out a couple of generous portions for yourself and your significant other, grab yourself a fork, and eat!

Regards Y’all,

The Redneck Gourmet