Testing Tiramisu recipes

I was requested to conduct a class on Tiramisu making for Father's Day. So I had to test out my recipe before the actual day.

Over the years, I have tried and tested a lot of Tiramisu recipes but none seemed to find its way into my Red Book (my book of treasured recipes).

So I have done some research on the recipes and figure out how the variations in recipes affect the end product.

Types of alcohol used
Before I got my hands on a bottle of Marsala wine, I was making Tiramisu with Rum. Rum is fine as a decent flavour to pair all cakes. But the sweet aroma of Marsala wine will produce a much tastier dessert. So I reckon it is worth all the effort. If you cannot consume alcohol, you have to find Rum extract. Using any other types of liqueur substitute will just spoil the overall taste.

Instant coffee vs Espresso
For the convenience of most bakers, we will use instant coffee. However, don't forget coffee is an integral part of this dessert. Tiramisu means "Pick me up" in Italian. Hence, the coffee used for dipping the savioardi sponge fingers must be a good strong coffee preferably espresso.

Homemade sponge fingers or store bought savioardi biscuits
Although I'm an advocate of making everything myself, in this case I love the Italian sponge fingers. Somehow the aromas that they have included in their sponge fingers make them tastier than homemade. Till I figured out what those aromas are, I'm sticking to store bought.

Whipping cream or Egg whites
Unless you are saving those egg whites for your Macarons making, folding in both whipped cream and whisked egg whites add lightness to the recipe. It also adds volume to your mascarpone mix. Thus, you could use only 250g of Mascarpone for 8 servings.

Egg yolks mixture
I have recentl chanced upon a good article about Tiramisu making using the zabaione (sabayon) method. Instead of simply whisking the egg yolks and sugar till thickened, I whisked it over a Bain Marie. This helps to cook the egg yolks. I was rather pleased that the final product was light and airy. On top of that, it aas much more stable. I could keep the dessert in the fridge without worrying about raw eggs inside.

Cocoa powder or chopped chocolate
Tiramisu is never complete without a generous sprinkling of cocoa powder. Some lush recipe included chopped chocolate instead. After trying both recipes, I have decided to include the both. The chopped chocolate adds the extra lushness to the dessert. The cocoa powder helps to cover up the parts of dessert that the chocolate missed.

After all the talk, here is the wonderful article on Tiramisu (recipe included). Enjoy!


Deconstructing the Snickers Bar

The trend in Molecular Gastronomy in deconstructing classic recipes has finally gotten to me. Yes, I was craving for a Snickers bar. And yes, I am not spending another cent on store bought chocolate bars ever again. And yes, I was feeling too lazy to dip my brownies into chocolate ( although I really love everything coated with chocolate). So, I was inspired by the deconstruction of desserts. It presents classic desserts in a new way. Refreshing or catastrophically. And hence, my feeble attempt at one of my favourite chocolate bars.

I was trying to reconstruct the memories of eating a Snickers bar. The chocolate coating, the salty peanuts and the chewy marshmallow centre bring together the entire experience. Therefore, I recreated the marshmallows by simply whipping up a batch at home.  Not forgetting the peanuts, I opted for the sugar- coated version as I wish to introduce my favourite salted caramel sauce. Being a chocolate lover and bringing together the chocolate bar experience, I have thrown in several pieces of chocolate cake cubes. To top it all off, I drizzled in the hit chocolate sauce.

Verdict: what's not to like about a chocolatey, gooey mess of marshmallows and peanuts?

Sugar high.


The Ultimate Choc

I guess most of us are posed with the problem of leftover bananas on our kitchen counter. And so on the other day, Mr K decided to give a banana to make him a dessert. Well easy I would usually make banana cake or muffin. As you can see, it's all so boring after a while.

Therefore while the banana was screaming "Eat Me!" for a couple of days. I started to search the internet looking for inspiration to this banana problem (ok, it's a good problem). There is an abundance of banana cakes in the market. And I simply grown to dislike the overpowering banana flavour which is a result of too much flavouring. But I love chocolate. Simple banana-choco combination never fail to please me. Besides, what's not to like about Chocolate desserts?

If you do a quick search of banana brownies, you will find that most bakers have mashed up the banana and incorporated them into the brownies. However, I would love to give the banana a chance to be presented beautifully on the cake. Solution cut cross sections of them and placed on top of the batter.

The result? Simply soft banana pieces in every bite. The subtle fragrance of the  banana lends moisture to the brownies while baking. And of course the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the divine dark chocolate brownie. Therefore, I named this dessert - The Ultimate Choc (pronounced as "Shock" in French). Enjoy!


Donut or not doughnut?

It's National Doughnut Week from 9 to 16 May. Oh well, one more day to go.. but better late than never, eh? Be it you spell it the British way "Doughnut" or the American way "Donut", it is basically a piece of fried dough. What we all love about this fritter is the seemingly endless possibility of fillings even savoury! Check this doughnut sandwich out! You'll be amazed donuts could be stuffed with lobster.

Back in 2007, the doughnut craze in Singapore was at its peak. You would see long queues of people at every Tom, Dick and Harry doughnut shop. What amazes me is the trend is back again in US. I wonder if it will hit our shores again.

Anyway, my love for doughnuts exists in the form of Krafna as how we call it in Croatia. It is a bigger version of the British doughnuts. However the Croatian version has many more lovely ingredients including Rakija (Croatian brandy) and lemon zests. The typical fillings are chocolate and apricot jams. One might find custard or berry jam too. Finally it is dusted generously with icing sugar instead of rolled in caster sugar.

After obtaining a deep fryer for making doughnuts, I went on to try out the Croatian krafne. I made them bite size and filled them with my own berry jam. And here they are. Leave a comment if you are interested in the recipe.


Goodbye my faithful ol' oven.

Recently I had to bid my 12-year-old oven goodbye. After moving to three flats with us and sent for one major repair once, the thermostat has failed me. Despite a broken thermostat, I was using the oven to roast my potatoes and breads.

After several attempts of burnt cakes, I finally forked out some cash to get an oven thermometer before I realised the problem.

We contacted the service centre which was conveniently located in the same building as Mister's office for repairs. The lady informed us that the oven model was no longer in production therefore, we won't be able to find a thermostat to replace.

So goodbye dear faithful oven of mine. May you rest in pieces in the electrical appliances heaven.