Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Tiramisu without Alcohol

Tiramisu, pronounced as 'ti-ra-mee-su' the very famous classic Italian dessert is made of savioardi/lady's fingers/ sponge fingers dabbed in espresso or strong coffee and alcohol mixture traditionally and mascarpone cream mixture and then sprinkled with cocoa on top. However I have made certain variations from the traditional one avoiding alcohol and using chocolate cake along with sponge fingers. I made it for the Iftar party last weekend and I got a big thumbs-up for this dessert.
Before talking about Iftar party and Iftar, I will give a brief description about Ramadan and what Iftar is. Ramadan is the 9th Month in the Arabic Calendar where all Muslims are obliged to refrain from food and drinks from dawn till dusk and this is called fasting. At dawn we have a light meal called Seher (Pre-dawn meal) and don’t eat or drink the whole day. At dusk we break our fast with dates or water initially and carry on with some snacks. This breaking of fast at dusk is called Iftar. After dusk we are allowed to eat anything until the dawn.

I find Iftar back home quite festive where you have friends and relatives coming over and having food and prayers together. We also prepare different kinds of snacks and meals and share them with others in the neighbourhood to show our love and compassion.

On the first day of the following month, after sighting another new moon we celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr where everyone takes a bath, put on new clothes and go to mosques early in the morning to perform communal prayer. After that, we have friends and relatives coming over and having feast. It’s a great celebration.

Talking about Tiramisu, I made certain changes from the traditonal recipe this time. Instead of using savioardi I experimented with a layer of chocolate cake in the bottom layer and sprinkled the coffee all over the chocolate cake rather than dipping it in coffee. I just used chocolate cake because I had made chocolate cake the very previous day and had quite lot of it. However it was super delicious, I should say. Below here is the original recipe that I have that uses only saviordi and not cake. but in the picture you can see the bottom layer is cake.

4 eggs separated
500 gms mascarpone cheese
2 cups heavy cream/double cream
30 sponge fingers/savioardi/lady's fingers
8 tbs + 2 tbs sugar
2 cups strong coffee
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbs cocoa powder

1. Prepare 2 cups of coffee by adding boiling water to 2 tbs of coffee+2 tbs of sugar. Keep it aside.
2. Separate egg whites and yolks.
3. In a glass bowl, take egg yolks and add in sugar beat well with the egg beater until you get creamy and pale yellow mixture (zabaglione pronounced as sabayon).
4. Place another vessel on the stove and add hot but not boiling water and set it on low-medium flame. Place the glass bowl with egg yolk and sugar mixture (zabaglione) over the simmering water and whisk well for around ten minutes until the mixture gets thick. Add vanilla essence to this and keep it aside to cool.
N.B: It is important to note that the bowl containing zabaglione should not come in contact with the water underneath since this will curdle the egg and get a grainy mixture. Also it is important not to use a metal bowl for preparing zabaglione since the vessel gets heated up quickly and again the egg will get curdled.
5. Whip the Cream until peaks form and keep it aside. Don’t whip it for too long because it will start forming into butter. You can use wire whisk or egg beater for this.
6. Mix the mascarpone cheese in this whipped cream and mix well until no lumps appear. Add the cooled zabaglione to this and mix well.
7. Whip the egg whites until peaks form and fold into the cheese and cream mixture to keep it light and airy. Dont over mix it..
8. Now take a large clear glass dish, just dip the sponge fingers in the coffee and layer them side by side until you cover the bottom of the dish with the sponge fingers dipped in coffee. Don’t keep the sponge fingers in coffee for long time since they tend to absorb liquid too quickly. Just dab both sides in coffee and that should be more than enough.
9.Pour half of the cheese cream mixture over this lady’s fingers and again layer another layer of savoiardi dipped in coffee over this cream mixture and tip over the rest of cream mixture.
10. Cover and Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours.
11.Just before serving,dust with cocoa by passing it through sieve or if you want to make it more rich, add some chocolate shavings....hmmmm..yummy!
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