Happy Birthday Shannon!

So Son’s bride had a birthday this week.  She has only ever requested one dessert – tiramisu – so I thought it was time to make a second stab at it.  Last year we did the Tiramisu cake, which was good, but this year I wanted to try my hand at ladyfingers.

Shannon has her hands full with The Boy, and The Boys (Tank and Axel) not to mention Yard Boy (Buckshot).  With all that testosterone, you need a little backup in the ladyfinger department.  Now don’t get me wrong – she can hold her own – but a little sweet treat now and then won’t hurt matters!

I looked around for a ladyfinger recipe that met my 2 criteria:  easy enough for me to do, and fancee enough to have great taste.  This link takes you to a recipe that does just that Ladyfingers.  A few tips – if you lay your ladyfingers on parchment to cool, you may get stuck.  Try and leave it on the drying rack only.  Make the fillings first; the fingers cool quickly.  Second, and I don’t understand the science behind this but I’m sure someone does – the dark pan cooked quicker and with a better texture result than the bright pan.

tiramisu ladyfinger batterYou don’t get a lot of, well, stretch with these.  When you pipe them out, make them pretty close to the size you want them to end up.  I got a few more out of the recipe than it stated, but I had a few testers around to take up the slack so it all worked out.

tiramisu baked ladyfingersNow, mascarpone cheese is great.  Really great.  Around here, its also really expensive.  So I clicked around and found a recipe for a substitute.  Here’s that link:  Mascarpone substitute.  You are going to think to yourself, Self?  and Self says, yeah?  Self, you’ll say, this ain’t enough.  Well, you’re wrong, sorta.  By the time we add 2 cups of this vanilla custard you’ll have plenty Vanilla pastry cream custard.  Make up the mascarpone sub like it says, then add in 1/2 to 3/4 cups, maybe even a cup if you like it sweeter of 10x sugar, and 2 cups of the cooled custard (yeah, sorry – you’ll need to make that earlier in the day.  But the good news is you’ll have lots to taste!).  Blend it good.  I used the whip attachment – whipped the mascarpone-ish first until it was fluffy and light, then whipped in the sugar and pastry cream.

For assembly, you’ll need some coffee (leftover from this morning’s brew is fine, just make it strong) with a bit of liquor (likoor? whatever) in it – I used amaretto because it’s what I had.  Also added about a tablespoon of sugar.  Dip the bottoms of your lady’s in this blend.  Just barely.  I mean, just do let the hems of their skirts touch the coffee mixture.  Layer these in a dish – mine is a sealable Cheap-o-ware container, about 6ish by 8ish and tall.  Now put 1/3 of the filling on there and smear it around.  Go ahead and lick the spoon, no one’s looking.  Repeat twice more until you run out of parts.  You may have a few fingers left over.  ~looking away tactfully~ Oh!  Sorry, I was wrong.  None left.  Now take your handy dandy sifter, that you bought 15 years ago and used once, and sift on some cocoa powder.  You can substitute dark or semi-sweet chocolate curls here if you like, or you can even just sprinkle on those teeny tiny semi-sweet chips.  All/any would work great.  Now refrigerate until set, several hours if you can stand it.

tiramisu completeI hope Shannon enjoys this Tiramisu, and saves me a picture of a cut piece.  It was fun to put together, and as usual not nearly as difficult as I had worked my imagination up to be.  The custard addition gives it a little something extra, and the mascarpone substitution?  Well, if you don’t tell anyone….


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