Chicken-keeping has made creating my ‘award-winning’ tiramisu more enjoyable than ever. The eggs play pivotal roles in the dish, in taste, texture and appearance. There is no comparison to the color, richness or flavor of this dish when using freshly collected eggs vs. store-bought paper weights. (oops, did I say that out loud?) Notice the difference in color between the filling in this version vs the one I made in 2001, below.
Now, about that ‘award-winning part. Having been invited to my friend Marie’s party in 2001, I offered to bring a dessert. It seemed a good opportunity to test-drive the tiramisu recipe I had been perfecting for some time. I was pleased with my presentation, and photographed it for posterity, which was fortunate as it nearly became permanent part of my car’s upholstery before I had even left my driveway.
Marie is the youngest of the children in the very large, very Italian, Roccapriore family. Why I believed this was the party at which to test-drive a new tiramisu iteration is beyond me. I was aware of her family’s background and passion for cooking, yet disregarded the inherent risks in bringing this particular dessert to her home. Not only was I setting myself up for expert critique, the likelihood that someone else would make tiramisu as well was very high. That someone was Marie’s sister. <gulp>
Bringing a trifle bowl to an Italian family’s home is the equivalent of tossing the gauntlet at their feet and I should have known better. Upon entry to the house, the unspoken Tiramisu Throw-Down was on. Marie was kind enough not to alert me to my social faux pas until a winner had been declared at the end of the night. The judges had eaten, conferred and spoken and Marie’s sister actually declared me the Tiramisu Throw Down Champion. Right ON!
It is my pleasure to share my award-winning recipe with you. Buon appetito!
AWARD WINNING TIRAMISU RECIPE
6 extra large, fresh eggs (preferably from the backyard)
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons sugar, dissolved in ½ cup warm water
1.5 cups cooled Espresso
4 tablespoons Marsala wine
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 package of Ladyfinger cookies (aka: Savoiardi/Pavesina or Margherite in a pinch)
½ pint whipping cream
Cocoa powder for dusting the top
LET’S MAKE IT!
Separate the eggs into two bowls, being careful that the whites bowl contains no yolk at all (otherwise they will not whip up properly).
Over double boiler on medium heat add 6 egg yolks with ½ cup sugar. It’s important that the heat not be too high or the eggs will scramble. & there is no saving it at that point (trust me. been there, done that).
Beat constantly with an electric mixer or whisk until lightened in color. Mixture increases in volume, takes on a glossy appearance and flows in a ribbon from the beaters when ready. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Whip 6 egg whites with ½ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside until ready to use.
Mix the mascarpone cheese into the cooled yolk/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of Marsala wine and set aside until ready to use. Whip cream and set aside.
Gently fold egg white/sugar mixture into egg yolk/cheese mixture.
Fold 3/4 of the whipped cream into the egg/cheese mixture, reserving remaining whipped cream for the top. Congratulations- you now have zabaglione (aka: sabayon, zabaione)!
Combine the espresso, 2 tablespoons of marsala wine and sugar water in a shallow dish.
Set up a work station, assembly-line style. In a clear trifle bowl or 13x9x2 inch glass dish, cover the bottom with the zabaglione.
Dip the cookies VERY BRIEFLY into the espresso liquid and arrange side-by-side in dish.
Ladle some of the zabaglione into the center of the trifle bowl, add more dipped cookies and repeat, ending with zabablione on top.
Spread or pipe remaining whipped cream on top with a cake decorating bag and large, star tip. Dust with high-quality cocoa powder.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Best made at least one day before serving. If transporting this dish, employ someone to hold it securely around corners. Makes a phenomenal breakfast! (what? It’s mostly eggs!)
Anchors aweigh to my nephew, Dan, who left for basic training in the US Navy two days ago. I suspect the mess hall fare will be significantly less enticing.