It’s a new year & that means new kitchen adventures!
I took more than a little break since last year because so much has happened!
Between weddings, graduations, tons of catering jobs, moving to a new city, finding a new house, and starting up my business in this new town, my poor little blog went to the wayside.
Poor ‘lil .com. I’m sorry.
But I promised myself that I would attend to my neglected blog & finally download all these photos of deliciousness I have been making these last couple months because you know I didn’t stop cooking & creating recipes!
The first on my list: Make-Ahead Tiramisu.
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While this Make-Ahead Tiramisu may NOT be a traditional tiramisu, it IS super simple to put together and perfect for gatherings & potlucks because well, you make it ahead of time so there’s no rushing on the day of! One to two days later, the tiramisu has had enough time to let the flavors mingle and just the right balance of rich sweetness.
OK, so let’s just get this out of the way: I’m not a coffee fan. I know, I know…In this world of frappu-fancy-ccinos, a person who doesn’t like coffee might as well be put on the “no fly list” but I can’t help it. That stuff is usually bitter and my mouth hates me a little whenever my brain forgets that I don’t enjoy the stuff. When I took my first bite of this dessert I have to admit, it wasn’t a game changer. The cream was kind of bland and the espresso tasted exactly what I thought it would taste like. Bitter. I had kind of given up on it but decided to cover it and wait the recommended 24 hours before I judged.
Now, I don’t really know what happened after the 24 hour mark, but I’m pretty sure it involved some unicorn-type magic because what tasted like a bland yet bitter cookies and cream cake, now tasted like pure friggin’ heaven. The bland cream had somehow, amazingly, become sweet and the bitter ladyfingers had turned into a kind of mocha flavored cookie.
Like I said: Unicorns.
As fancy as tiramisu sounds, it’s actually surprisingly easy and starts with 7 basic ingredients: ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, sugar, espresso, eggs, heavy whipping cream and rum. Different recipes and different chefs make tiramisu with different liqueurs. I’ve seen people use everything from Tia Maria to Marsala wine to banana liqueur (if you’re fancy like that). I’m not. I drink rum. The dark kind. The kind that floats on top of Mai Tai’s…mmm…Mai Tai’s… but I digress…
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This tiramisu is a little different in that I replaced the traditional zabaglione cream filling with a rum pastry cream. Zabaglione is a egg based type of custard cooked over a double boiler (or bain-marie) and flavored with Marsala wine. This cream is what is usually used as the filling in tiramisu. I changed the cream a little because 1) I didn’t want to mess with a double boiler 2) I don’t like Marsala wine. The result was something a little thicker than traditional zabaglione and tasted a whole lot more like vanilla and rum.
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Once you get the cream cooking, it will start to froth as you whisk it together. Once it slightly simmers, add the whole milk and continue whisking but don’t stop there! Those eggs are raw and you don’t want to serve up some espresso flavored salmonella. Trust.
Continue cooking until the cream comes to a slow rolling boil for about another 5 minutes to make sure the eggs have been cooked thoroughly. The cream should be the consistency of a light pastry cream but be careful to not overcook it! How do you know if it overcooks? It will separate and become something quite unattractive that used to look like pastry cream but now looks like sadness. That’s how.
As you wait for the cream to cool, get the ladyfingers ready. I put the espresso, sugar and rum in a shallow bowl large enough to submerge the whole ladyfinger. I dunk them for about 2 seconds (or 1 second a side) just enough to wet them but not enough to soak them through because you don’t want them to fall apart when you try to layer the cake.
Mushy cookies = ewww.
So pretty all lined and liquored up, huh? Kind of like the outside of a popular nightclub. But again, I digress…
In traditional tiramisu, whipped cream is folded into the zabaglione then alternately layered with ladyfingers. I did things a little different in that I did a layer of ladyfingers, then pastry cream, whipped cream, and repeated it until I ended with a layer of pastry cream. I then tightly wrapped the pan in saran wrap and let the unicorns have at it to work their magic. I’m sure it’s them. I just know it!
I used a round cheesecake pan with a removable bottom as my “cake mold” but you can use a casserole dish or deep pie pan or anything that can hold a couple of layers of delicious if you want to serve it in the dish. I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t stand up when taken out of the mold, but as you will see, it did pretty good on standing on it’s own. Look at those layers! Ugh so pretty!
Finally, right before serving, hit it with a dusting of cocoa powder and serve immediately.
You’ve got yourself a Tiramisu.
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar + 1/4 cup sugar for espresso
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 16 oz mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups strong brewed espresso, room temperature (instant espresso can also work in a pinch!)
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 12 oz package of ladyfingers
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- In medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined.
- Place pan over medium heat and whisk in milk slowly until it begins to boil. Lower heat and continue to cook at a slow rolling boil for about 5-10 minutes then let cool. This allows the egg to "cook" or "coddle" so you are not eating raw eggs.
- Cover milk/egg/sugar mixture and place in refrigerator for 1 hour to cool even further.
- Once cool, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk milk/egg/sugar mixture until it thickens slightly then add mascarpone and whisk until smooth.
- Using a clean hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
- While espresso is hot, dissolve rum and 1/4 cup sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
- Dip each ladyfinger in espresso mixture for about 1-2 seconds allowing the ladyfinger to absorb some of the coffee. Do not allow the ladyfingers to absorb too much espresso because you don't want it to be soggy and fall apart!
- In a 9 inch round pan with a removable bottom (like the kind you use for cheesecake) or a 7x11 pan, begin building the tiramisu with first a layer of ladyfingers, then a layer of mascarpone, and a layer of whipped cream. Repeat these steps finishing with a layer of mascarpone.
- Using a sifter, dust a layer of chocolate powder on top of the mascarpone layer, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 24-48 hours to allow the flavors to fully develop.
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