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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Holiday Tiramisu

More and more, I realize that I'm highly addicted to desserts! If you haven't realized that yourselves already, counting the sweet recipes on this blog. Funnily enough, I tend to get obsessed with a certain recipe and I make it until I and everybody around me can't take it any more. This one is no exception. 

Last year, in my quest to find a replacement for the discontinued Edeka (German supermarket chain) frozen tiramisu (best ready-made tiramisu ever created), I found this recipe, which I updated to suit my particular taste. I'm not a huge fan of poisonously sweet desserts, so I have majorly reduced the sugar content. Furthermore, my boyfriend made a comment, that it would be great to use spekulacius cookies instead of lady fingers. I thought "no way"! Speculacius are quite a Christmassy cookie originating from the Belgium/Netherlands/Germany region and are quite spicy and especially rich in cinnamon.  You can successfully substitute them with any other Christmas cookie you might have; however, it should be crispy rather than soft. A perfect option would be the home-made honey cookies I posted a couple of years ago on my blog.

Spekulacius cookies
But anyway, I decided to make it with the speculacius cookies to shut him up make him happy. I had to eat my metaphorical hat. Don't you just hate when that happens? I think I made it over 10 times since and every time I make it for somebody else, he likes to remind me it was his idea. I got it, you were right, let's move on :)  We ate it so much that I can barely look at it anymore! And... if I say so myself, it's the best one I've ever had!

It's not really difficult to make but there are a couple of tricky bits you have to overcome and there's a good amount of waiting you have to do. I'd say it's perfect for the holidays, especially if you're making a big meal yourself and you have a few spare minutes here and there for the different steps.

Here are the ingredients.

The holiday tiramisu recipe:

6 egg yolks (room temperature)
1/2 cup castor sugar
2/3 cup milk (room temperature)
500 ml/ 17 oz cream for whipping (use animal one, none of that plant-based crap)
1 tsp butter vanilla essence
500 g/1 lb mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup cold espresso
1/3 cup gold rum
1 package (approx. 200 g/7 oz speculacius/ Christmassy cookies/honey cookies)
cocoa powder for sprinkling on top (unsweetened)


1.Beat the egg yolks well with the sugar in a saucepan until they change to a lighter creamier colour. See below. Add the milk and whisk together.

Mixed egg and sugar texture
2. Place the mixture over low to medium heat and constantly whisk. Don't stop whisking. If you do, the bottom will burn and you'll have gross burnt eggy pieces in your custard. When the mixture starts boiling, lower the heat even further down and start mixing even more vigorously. After a couple of minutes, the custard will thicken. The rule is: it's ready when you can split it with your finger on the back of a spoon: like the red sea :) Cover it with cling film (otherwise it will get a skin) or a lid and set it aside to completely cool down. In the winter, it's usually cold enough outside to use the balcony as a fridge, so you can save yourself some space.

Ready custard texture
2b. Alright, if you somehow manage to split your custard (by using too cold ingredients or boiling over too high heat or too long) you can save the situation. By splitting I mean that you are left with watery substance with floating grainy yellow pieces in it. It's not going to be the same but it will still be tasty. It might taste eggier.

Blend the cooked and split mixture with a hand or another blender. Set aside to cool down.

3. After the custard mixture is completely cool, whisk it very well with the mascarpone cheese. There should be no clumps and it should look nice and shiny. I usually use my hand mixer for that as the cheese is quite thick and after whisking my freaking hands off with the custard, I'm definitely not in the mood for any more hand whisking.

Mixed custard and mascarpone texture
4. In another clean and dry bowl whisk the cream with the vanilla until stiff peaks. If you overwhisk the cream and you split it, you need to start from the beginning with a new one. You can't salvage that. So, be careful.

5. Mix the rum with the cold espresso coffee in a bowl where you can dunk the cookies.

6. Dunk the cookies one by one in the coffee/rum mixture and lay them in either a rectangular glass baking pot or individual bowls. Don't let the cookies stay long in the mixture or they'll get too wet and fall apart or just be too soft and gross.

Dunking cookies for Dummies :)
7. Spread half the custard on the cookies.

8. Spread half the whipped cream on the custard layer.

9. Repeat steps 6, 7 and 8.

10. Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top of the tiramisu. The nicest way is to put the cocoa powder in a little sieve and shake it on top. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, best overnight. If you decide to make a lot and would like to save some for later, you can directly put it in the freezer. It'll be good for 3 months, just either take it out to unfreeze overnight in the fridge or for an hour outside. Will taste like fresh.

11. Serve cold as dessert. Why not with my pumpkin spice latte?

Holiday tiramisu
It's really quite impressive and very doable. I'll be making it for Christmas for my parents. What are you cooking this year? Show me some pics, I would love to see them. Traditionally, I'm starting the prep for the stuffed Bulgarian turkey in a minute, can't wait till tomorrow to sink my teeth into it. You can find the recipe here.

Just had to show that moss I could see on the squirrel-eaten tree in front of my house.