I’m trying to hold on to something. It’s feels big and elusive… and I just looked down at my fingernails to find that at some point during the day I must have bitten them all off. I’m trying to hold on to an idea. It’s baby (not literally, I’m not good at those). It’s new. It means that I would be pushing myself to create something I’ve never created before.
Sometimes you walk into a room… a room that you’ve been in a million times before… and there’s a new idea sitting there, and you can’t ignore it even though it’s big and kinda scary and definitely daunting. And maybe you try to wrestle with the idea to make it smaller or more manageable but the idea says… NO. I am this and we can do it. Except the idea doesn’t really have to do anything but be, and I have to do all the heavy lifting to make it real for other people too.
At least… that’s what if feels like when I have something not food related I want to write. Feels like a beast of a thing.
To manage my big idea… I made food. Because I’m good at making food, better than I am at wrestling with big ideas. Making food is soothing.
This, from the bucket list of recipes I’d like to make: tiramisu!
Sweet goals and big ideas. Getting things done.
Tiramisu is mostly about whisking and assembly.
Rich egg yolks are whisked with granulated sugar.
Because tiramisu isn’t a baked dessert, we’re gong to heat the eggs gently over a double boiler.
I used a hand mixer to beat the eggs over a pot of simmering water.
Five minutes of vigorous mixing over simmering water creates a pale yellow, thick, warm, sweet egg mixture.
Mascarpone cheese, the light and love of tiramisu, is gently whisked into the egg and sugar mixture.
Mascarpone is a soft, creamy, delicate cheese… slightly sweet, definitely spreadable, way delicious. It adds just the right sweetness and density to the tiramisu.
The eggy mascarpone is folded with lightly sweetened whipped cream, adding fluff and volume.
We have our eggy mascarpone mixture ready for spreading. We’ve got extra whipped cream ready to go. And a sweetened, very dark coffee mixture spiked with rum.
I used little amaretti cookies as the cookie base for the tiramisu. Amaretti cookies are little, crisp, almond cookies.
They’re soaked in sweet black coffee and set to line a ceramic dish.
The cookies will be almond, coffee, and rum flavored. A very good base for creamy toppings!
Atop the coffee-soaked cookies goes half of the sweet eggy, whipped, mascarpone mixture. Spread evenly.
More coffee-soaked amaretti cookies to top the mascarpone.
The remaining mascarpone is spread over the second layer of cookies and… if you think we’re already good… we can be even better.
You know it’s true.
Soft and sweet whipped cream is spread over the top of the mascarpone and cookies.
Cocoa powder is dusted, liberally and with enthusiasm over the whipped cream and the pan spends some time in the refrigerator to chill, meld flavors, and soften.
There’s no need to keep up appearances when it comes to serving. A big spoonful of a little plate. Extra cocoa and hot coffee.
Now, back to those brewing big ideas. This time, slightly more caffeinated.Print
- 1 10-ounce bag small amaretti cookies
- 2 cups very strong brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoons rum (optional, but delicious)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 pound (about 1 1/4 cup) mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- In a shallow bowl, stir together coffee, rum (if using), and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Bring 2-inches of water to simmer in a small saucepan.
- In a medium, heat-proof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Place the bowl over the simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), and use an electric hand mixer to whip the eggs and sugar until pale, thick, and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese until just combined.
- In a large bowl, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until soft but stiff peaks form.
- Add just under half of the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and fold to combine.
- Now, set yourself up for assembly. You’ll have your small amaretti cookies, sweetened coffee, mascarpone mixture, whipped cream, and cocoa powder.
- Start by dipping and lightly soaking cookies in coffee syrup. You don’t want them to be completely soggy, but rather, just soaked through. Use the soaked cookies to line the bottom of a 9×9-inch square pan. I used an 8×10-inch pan. Something in that size range will serve you well.
- Top the soaked cookies with half of the mascarpone mixture and spread evenly.
- Top the mascarpone mixture with another layer of coffee soaked cookies. Top the cookies with the remaining mascarpone, then the whipped cream. Dust liberally with cocoa powder.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled with hot coffee.
- Serving Size: 6