Tiramisu – Daring Bakers Challenge February 2010

February 27th, 2010


The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.


We were not given one challenge this month – but three! We were to make our own mascarpone, ladyfinger / savoiardi biscuits and finally construct a tiramisu (which in itself had pastry cream and zabaglione components).


Not being a huge coffee lover, I thought this would be a good opportunity to try a chocolate only tiramisu, and noticed there weren’t many recipes that catered for only chocolate tiramisu without any coffee flavouring. I decided to make up my own dipping sauce for the biscuits – which is the only portion which contains coffee. I just substituted some cocoa, sugar and baileys for the coffee.


As for the mascarpone, it was great to finally make it. It was so easy to make and tasted lovely. And what did I do with the leftovers? Well, a dollop on some pasta or pumpkin soup, made it much tastier (although not healthier…)


I enjoyed the chocolate tiramisu, with the coffee drinkers preferring the coffee tiramisu that I made. Although, I probably wouldn’t make the tiramisu again, as I love other desserts more – and have a long long list of desserts I’d still love to make.


I’d like to thank Aparna and Deeba for a great challenge (or number of challenges) this month! I managed to make quite a number of things I have wanted to make and never found the time. 🙂


P.S. I realised after reading others’ results, that many froze their tiramisu’s before removing any moulds. I didn’t with mine and therefore the tiramisu started melting quite fast and didn’t stay well in their moulds.


(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder
My note: To make this with no coffee flavour, replace the espresso and rum with 2 teaspoons cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons of baileys and 2 cups warm water – add together with the sugar for a chocolate alternative for dipping the biscuits.

For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.


Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.


Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.


Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)

Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.

Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.


Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.

Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

Mascarpone Cheese

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly.


You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.



Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.

Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

Ladyfingers / Savoiardi Biscuits

(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.

Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.

Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.


Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.


Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.


  1. Cakelaw says:

    I love your chocolate version – it’ like a cute little tree. The large coffee version looks good too.

  2. Jeanne says:

    I love the first photo with the chocolate pouring over the tiramisu! The all chocolate versions sounds amazing. Great adaptation! 🙂

  3. Trissa says:

    Anita, how did you manage to shape your tiramisu like a pyramid? It is such a beautiful picture and great plating!

  4. Lauren says:

    Ooo! I love it =D. A chocolate version is perfect for us non-coffee people!

  5. marcellina says:

    Chocolate tiramisu looks beautiful particularly in the cone shape with the chocolate sauce being poured over. Yes, unless it was frozen mine melted ridiculously quickly.

  6. wow, I just love the shape of your tiramisu. Its not your boring flat and stacked!!

  7. I love the shape of your tiramisu, they look really attractive and I bet the chocolate one tastes fantastic too!

  8. Lovely action shot Anita! 😀 And yes you’re right, there’s no straight chocolate tiramisu which is funny as you’d think people would just love that version!

  9. Aparna says:

    Chocolate drenched little Tiramisu cone. Very little could get better than this, I guess.
    Thanks for baking with us.

  10. Isabella says:

    Both versions look lovely, I bet they tasted lovely too!!!

    Another great dessert from you Anita!

  11. The cone mould would be perfect for a snow-capped mountain if you had a chocolate cake and a white chocolate sauce. This one is kind-of inverse. Nice idea making a version with chocolate and baileys!

  12. Allison says:

    How did you make it into a little cone shape? So ingenious!

  13. Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness, you made your own marscapone? That’s serious committment! I know you’re not a coffee drinker, but a little bit of coffee makes chocolate taste sooooo good! 🙂

  14. I love that first photo. I might just have to ever-so-gently move the tiramisu over for a second, stick my mouth under the magical chocolate fountain, and then come back for the tiramisu, spoon in hand 🙂

  15. I love your cone shaped tiramisu! Great job on this challenge! I wish I’d have frozen mine before serving too!

  16. Juliana says:

    Anita, gorgeous tiramisu…and you have your fingerprint on it 🙂 The shape of your tiramisu 😉

  17. Love all the shots of the baking process! It’s as if you’re right there guiding me! And the thick, fudgey chocolate got me desperate for some tiramisu!

  18. Dear Anita – I love the way you are carrying your conical shaped theme from the previous post into traditional (and not so traditional) tiramisu.

    Coffee & chocolate! Mocha anyone? 🙂

    Lovely post. Always a pleasure to visit.


    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  19. Y says:

    Especially love that cone shaped tiramisu. It somehow looks really Christmassy to me. Yummy!

  20. I love the cone shaped tiramisu. It is very inventive 🙂 I once thought about having the dome tiramisu, but it was just too complicated to start with …

    Sawadee from bangkok,

  21. Trisha says:

    Oh my goodness! Tiramisu is one of my most favourite desserts and this is just so generously beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Stephanie says:

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing – especially the part of making my own cheese. I had no idea how to do this!!

  23. Julie says:

    I have made varied versions of tiramisu … love the full coffee/rum version but a great alternative is rasperberry and limecello, with a white chocolate pastry cream. have to say its always a winner.

    Thanks for the marscapone recipe – am off to try this in the weekend!

  24. Fiona says:

    This dessert looks wonderful – like the others, I love the cone shape, and I will steal this idea for the future.

    Years before Tiramisu became a household word, I used to make a Marsala Log, which basically operated on the same principle but with different flavours. You dipped Choc Ripple bikkies in marsala then stood them up sandwiched with choc cream. Then I discovered you could make the log with gingernut biscuits, and preserved ginger through the cream.

    My point is, there is a sort of basic style of dessert which involves dipping some kind of biscuit/cake into some kind of liquid and layering (either vertically or horizontally) with some kind of flavoured cream. And that means there are endless possibilities, and therefore no condemnation of choosing not to have coffee!

  25. buna says:

    Leave place for dessert? After going through your blog and recipes i would want to have only dessert!! Amazing desserts and so well demonstrated with pictures. thank you for sharing especially the cheese making . and the sponge fingers love it all!!

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