Tiramisu with Homemade Lady Fingers

Before the Mister left for his 2+ weeks trip to South Korea, I made a promise to make tiramisu for his belated birthday when he got back. (At least this year he wasn’t gone for our anniversary.) I have a couple of recipes for tiramisu but none for lady fingers. I remember reading about homemade ladyfingers a couple of years ago on Delicious Days and how “easy” it  was to make. At least that’s what my memory told me. So when he got back, I gotta crackin’! Eggs, that is.

The tiramisu uses raw egg yolks, fair warning. I use farm fresh eggs when using them raw and have never had any problems. But I know there are people who are concerned about using raw eggs so I’ll go over on how to pasteurize the outside of eggs. Salmonella is usually found on the outside shell of the egg so pasteurizing the outside would kill off any yuckies. Pasteurizing is easy with a kitchen thermometer. Put room temperature eggs in a pot, fill with cold water, set it over medium heat to start, stick on the thermometer. Make sure none of the shells of the raw eggs are cracked, btw. As the temperature reaches about 130 degrees F, turn the heat down. Target water temp is between 140-145 degrees F.  Apparently it’s okay for the temp to go up as high as 150 but I try not to go over 145 since egg whites have a tendency to turn whitish after that. Low heat on my stove is where I need it to keep it at 140′ish. I like starting at medium heat since it heats up a bit faster. Just keep an eye out on the temp gauge. Once the water reaches 140, keep the eggs in the water for 4 minutes. This will be enough time to kill off bacteria but not enough to cook the egg. If a bit of white turns a bit white, it should be fine to use. Oh yeah, I only pasteurized enough eggs for the mascarpone filling.

I followed Nicky’s recipes for the ladyfingers and tiramisu. She swore that is “the” tiramisu recipe and after making it, I’d have to agree. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was what size dish to layer my tiramisu. Nicky used a glass so I was guessing the first go-around. I chose a square 9×9 inch dish. Turned out to be the perfect size. The ladyfingers recipe gave me just enough for two layers.

Speaking of mascarpone, I’ve made this a couple of times, one using regular and another using espresso-flavored mascarpone. Why? Espresso-flavored was the only thing Sprouts had and I just didn’t feel like driving to another market. It wasn’t very strong in coffee flavor but definitely was there. I don’t really like alcohol flavored tiramisu or ones that make me feel like I’m eating a cup of espresso (aka, too heavy on the coffee flavor). But the flavored mascarpone didn’t overpower the filling and we enjoyed it so much that I added a tablespoon of the very very strong coffee (Italian brew) that I used for the “regular” flavored filling. In comparison, it tasted almost the same. Oh yeah, I should mention that if you’re tempted to use the espresso-flavored mascarpone, you’ll end up paying almost double.

So now let’s talk about the ladyfingers.

If you’ve made meringue or beaten egg whites to stiff peaks, this will be easy peasy. The only problem I had was beating the egg yolks in my Kitchenaid stand mixer since much of the egg yolks hung out at the very bottom just slightly out of reach of the beater. I had to manually lift the bowl to get the yolks closer (I have an up-down model, btw). Second go-around I used my Bosch mixer, which did a much better job. For egg whites, I typically prefer to use my hand mixer since I feel I have better control and the whites whips up better.

For piping the fingers, I used a disposable pastry bag but you can always use a plastic zip bag since you won’t need a tip for this. I snipped the end of the bag to about an inch wide, maybe just a bit less. I piped out about 3-inches in length since I thought it would give me 3 columns of lady fingers. But just because they say it’s a 9×9 inch pan does not mean the inside of the pan is exactly 9×9, and I completely forgot that the lady fingers expand when baked. Oops. But no problem since I had a few thinner and shorter ones which worked great in filling in the gaps.

Here they are, resting, cooling, waiting for their soak in a coffee-bath. I’ve baked these on parchment and on silicone baking pad and I prefer the latter. I also found that it was easier to remove them after letting them cool for a few minute on the baking sheet. They have a tendency to stick a bit on the bottom but for the most part, they should come off fairly easily with an off-set spatula. Aren’t those little sandwiches cute?

Here’s the assembled product.

Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up!

I cut these so it served 9. And if you’re counting, that means one of us (ME!) had an extra serving. If you’re thinking that this takes a lot of time, well, it’s about the same amount of time as it takes me to make a batch of red velvet cupcakes. Might even be a little less. So don’t be shy, give it a try. (ooo, I made it rhyme!)  Have a beautiful weekend!

Adapted from Delicious Days

Ladyfingers

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, separate yolks from whites
  • 90 g white sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 g all-purpose flour
  • ~2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 390 °F (200°C). Line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone pads.

Beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar (45 g) until creamy and pale (~4 minutes on medium to high speed with a KitcheAid). Mix in the vanilla extract and combine well.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar (45 g) by the tablespoons and continue to beat until the egg whites look glossy and form stiff peaks.

Sieve the flour into the bowl containing the creamy egg yolks and fold it in with a rubber spatula. The egg mixture with the flour will be a bit stiff.

Carefully fold in the whipped egg whites, making sure not to over-mix the batter. I add about 1/4 of the egg white to the egg yolk mixture to start, mixing it in so the batter was easier to work with. Then I added the remaining egg white in 2 additions.

Fill the batter into a piping bag, snip off the end and pipe the batter into ladyfinger shapes, 3-4 inches long, leaving enough space between them (about an inch) as they expand during baking. Generously dust with confectioners’ sugar. Bake at middle level until they just start to reach a slight golden color, around 12-14 minutes. Rotate pan half way through. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes in the pan.

Carefully pull the parchment paper from the baking tray and remove the ladyfingers from the parchment paper. An off-set spatula works well here. They keep in an airtight container (divided by parchment or waxed paper) for a couple of days, but are best consumed freshly baked.

Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  • 5 (large) egg yolks
  • 130 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 15-20 lady/sponge fingers
  • 8- 10 oz (or about a cup) cold coffee/espresso
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Put the egg yolks, sugar and hot water in a bowl of electric mixer and beat well for at least 5 minutes. The mixture should change its color from yellow to very light yellow, almost white and its texture should be both creamy, yet quite stiff. Add the mascarpone and beat again until the mixture has a consistent look. Mix in 1-2 tablespoon of cold coffee (or 1 tablespoon espresso) if you like more of a coffee flavor, but it’s purely optional.

Fill a form or glass with some of the mixture, just enough to cover the bottom. Pour the cold coffee in a flat bowl and soak the ladyfingers for some seconds, then arrange them on the mascarpone-egg mixture. For juicy ladyfingers, soak for a little longer but be careful not to soak too long or else the lady fingers will start to fall apart. I just roll the lady fingers once on each side. It does soak up the coffee pretty fast. Add another layer of the mixture, again soaked ladyfingers, end with a layer of the mascarpone-egg mixture and dust with lots of unsweetened cocoa powder. Chill for at least four hours.

Note: Nicky recommends not keeping chilled leftovers for longer than 24 hours, just a precaution because of the uncooked eggs. I’ve kept the first batch for 2 days with no problem but you make the call.

 

5 Comments

    • Hi CC! To be honest, this really wasn’t that different than making cupcakes. Cream butter vs. egg yolks. Batter for a sponge cake vs. regular butter cake. You know, I was t talking to my MIL and she thought the cake could be made in one sheet then cut into 2 after baking. That’s actually a good idea if layering in a pan like I used
      since the individual fingers aren’t really visible. I might try that one time.

      I tell ya, I can’t wait for cooler weather. Or just temps down in the low 80′s. Have a great weekend!

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