International Tiramisu Day

Yesterday marked this magical day for a lot of us. It comes once a year, and this year it snuck up on me. I didn’t realise what day it was until it was almost too late. But I did manage to bang out one large tiramisu for the husband, and a baby one for me. (I’m tired of not getting more than two bites out of any of the ones I made in the past because my husband is a vacuum cleaning eater when I make tiramisu.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – even the worst tiramisu is still delicious tiramisu, and I’m not even sure it’s possible to make one taste bad. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I can’t come up with a single way to screw one up. 🙂

Lovely Pumpkin Ice Cream

My gorgeous Pumpkin Ice Cream

2 eggs, beaten
1 C canned pumpkin puree (or pumpkin pie filling)
1 C packed brown sugar (if not using pie filling)
2 tsp pumpkin spices (if not using pie filling)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C evaporated milk
2 C heavy cream (at least 18%, 35% if you can score it)

In mixer, lightly beat eggs before adding pie filling or puree, sugar, spices, salt and milk. Mix thoroughly in mixer.

Transfer to sauce pan and heat to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and sit sauce pan in bowl filled with cold water or ice to cool down for ten minutes. Stir in heavy cream when mixture isn’t hot anymore. If you don’t wait, the cream will curdle.

Put cooled mixture in fridge to chill for at least an hour. When ready, set up ice cream maker and turn it on. Pour the mixture into the machine according to instructions and let it freeze from 20 to 40 minutes (depending upon how heavy the cream you use is).

Transfer the mix into a freezer safe container with lid and freeze at least a half hour before serving for softer serve ice cream all the way up to 2 hours to let it set and get that nice hard yet creamy texture shown in this photo.

Enjoy!

Tiramisu

Tiramisu Close Up

The hardest part of making tiramisu for me is parting with so much money for the mascarpone. It’s costs a fortune! Years ago, I found a little hack by Gemma over @biggerbolderbaking that allows me to make a fake mascarpone (that I now call fascarpone) that saves a LOT of money. Get your big girl panties on, ladies, and let’s get assembling!

The base is comprised of however many lady fingers you can manage to fit into each layer times two or three layers, breaking fingers in half if you have to, dipped in strong coffee. (Depending on the pan I use, I can make up to three layers using a bread loaf pan, or two layers using a 9″x9″ square pan.) It’s not an exact science, so if you run out of the coffee/liquor mix, just make a bit more until all of the fingers get a quick soak.

 

Tiramisu

20-30 Lady Fingers

1 C Strong Coffee Brew, room temperature (or cooled down hot chocolate)

1 tbsp Amaretto

The DIY Fascarpone is a two-step process. Here’s how to do it. (FYI: It’s probably best not to ever show this information to any actual Italians if you want any peace of mind.)

STEP ONE:

1C 35% Cream

1/3 C Sugar (white or superfine icing)
1 tsp Vanilla (this is the time to bust open the expensive stuff)

Using a whisk attachment in a mixer or a hand beater, whip this cream mixture on medium speed for about 5-8 mins, until the cream starts to thicken up. Then bump it to full speed for another 2-3 mins to incorporate a lot of air allowing the cream to fluff up.

Scrape the finished whipped cream into another mixing bowl. Set aside while assembling the second cream mixture into the used mixer bowl. No need to clean it out first.


STEP TWO:

6oz/168g Cream Cheese, room temp (small cubes speed up the temp change)

2 Tbsp Sour Cream (if you’re not using full fat, why are you even making this dessert?!)

3 Tbsp 35% Cream

Using a paddle attachment in a mixer or a hand beater, cream this mixture to a smooth consistency. You really don’t want any cream cheese lumps. Drop heaping spoonful of this mixture into the whipped cream bowl, and fold it in so the whipped cream thins out a bit. Add the rest and mix to incorporate both only.

ASSEMBLY:
Drop each lady finger into a shallow dish with the coffee mixture and quickly roll it over a full rotation. Immediately place each soaked finger into the loaf pan or the glass dish. When one layer of lady fingers is assembled, top it with a third of the fascarponey mixture. Smooth it out. Optional: dust the cream layer with coco powder or hot chocolate powder. I do this sometimes, but often I forget to do it. Oh, well.

Continue with more of the same two layers until you reach the top of the pan with fascarponey. Top that with either coco or hot chocolate powder. Cover and let the dish set itself up in the fridge.

Thoughts:

To be honest, you only need ten minutes for the lady finger to soften up from all of the moisture you rolled them around in and even more moisture from the cream mixture before you can dive in, but the longer it sits chilling the better it ends up tasting if you ask me. So, yeah – quick dessert for sure when you need something nice at a moment’s notice. Even a pan slapped together quickly can produce a lovely-to-eat tiramisu on a weeknight.

I’ve never tasted a shitty tiramisu. I simply refuse to believe one exists. And this speedy hacked version is no different. It’s is foolproof. If you find a way to screw it up, I need to be the first person you tell. And I will need a full explanation of just how you did it. Deal?

BWT, this is the typical portion of every pan of Tiramisu I make that the husband leaves for me. Every.single.time. I should just start making two pans instead of one.

Jammy Oatmeal Bars

This is a riff on a recipe I used to have to make at work when I worked in a college cafeteria. It’s a lovely bar, and it’s extremely versatile. It makes a great lunch snack for kids.

The original bar was called Cranberry Overload because it calls for making a cranberry jam filling. I do that version sometimes, but I tend to leave the cranberry jam version for Christmas and stick to seasonal jam fillings throughout the year. I will often use jammed jar when pressed for time, just like I’m doing here right now with this post.

You will need the following three main ingredients to pull this bar together:
450g Oatmeal Muffin Mix
200g Oatmeal Granola Cereal (with nuts is a great option if you don’t have an allergy)
200 g Jam (any kind will do)

120g Water

Measure out the muffin mix and top it with measured out cereal. Mix them together in a medium size mixing bowl, and dump in 126g of water. Mix with a gloved hand or with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are wet and a ball forms. Split the ball in half, and then half again. in the bowl.

Grease a 8″x8″ or so baking dish. Line it with parchment that’s been clipped down with small bulldog clips. Place 3/4 of the oatmeal mix into the bottom and push it into all four corners and even it out working towards the centre with a clean floured hand. This will be the base of the bar.

Pour out the jam over top and spread with a knife or offset spatula. Taking the last quarter of the oatmeal mix, start to place it over the jam layers in small blobs or chunks until it’s all used up. Break it up with your fingers. Pull it apart gently.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins. Cool completely on the counter before removing from the pan using the sides of the parchment paper. Sprinkle top with a dusting of powder sugar before serving.

Optional: make a quick drizzle using 1C icing sugar + 2 Tbsp milk. Let the icing dry completely before cutting into bars and serving.

Halloween Candy Redo

So, we don’t normally get kids at our door on Hallow’s eve – and therefore haven’t bought candy for the occasion in a few years – but one of our condo neighbours felt strongly that we would this year (not too sure why she felt that way, but she bought loads of candy she was that certain). I bought some when it was on sale the day before; just in case.

Fast forward to the night of, and oh mah gerd!, the weather was wet and nuts, so no kids. Again. (le sigh)

I really didn’t want the box of candy bars to be consumed one after another in from of the tv like years past, so I turned the best of the bars into a lovely ice cream I’m calling Candy Surprise.

The base was made using the Alton Brown recipe, and to that right before I poured it in the ice cream machine, I whisked in two heaping tablespoons of Coffee Crisp hot chocolate powder. As the machine ran the first 15 minutes of the cycle, I cut up the fun size chocolate bars (Snickers, Mars, and one other I’m blanking on) into tiny bite size chunks.

I added half of those bite size cuts to the batch in the last full minute. (I didn’t want it all to sink to the bottom of the ice cream.) I also held some back to scatter in as layers (bottom, middle and top) to compliment what the batch froze in place. I find this produces a much more satisfying inclusions distribution.

The husband loves this batch despite not being a fan of coffee (and yet still a lover of Coffee Crisps? Uh, ok.) But really, if it’s 1000% sugary and over the top, he will love it regardless of what I make. Sort of. He refuses to try my Basil ice cream, and I’m A-ok with that. All the more for me! 😀

Espresso Ganache Filling for Cookie Sandwiches

While toiling away in the kitchen today, I made up an Espresso Ganache recipe to use as a cookie sandwich filling. I really liked the way it turned out. If you’re interested, here it is:

1/4C heavy cream (I used eggnog)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Melt the butter in the cream over medium heat till it comes to a simmering boil.

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped up

Pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl, and let it stand for two minutes before slowly whisking the ingredients in small circles. Let this cool down and thicken up before adding the next two ingredients.

Note: If you need the cream and chocolate mixture to cool down rapidly and thicken up a bit, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer for ten minutes, and then give it a stir.

3 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 – 2 C powdered sugar (more or less -I was eyeballing it)

After mixing the cream mixture with the chocolate chunks to blend it all, add the espresso powder and powdered sugar. Mix well till it’s all combined and the mix thickens to a lovely spread consistency.

Using a spoon, knife or offset spatula, spread a liberal amount between the cookies and let it rest to set, or eat immediately.

Should yield enough for 4 dozen sandwich cookies.

Cookie Crust – Attempt #1

CookieBase-3

The picture isn’t the best, but neither is the lightening in our dining room. Our track lighting was designed for mood and atmosphere, not food picture taking. My apologies.

I pressed 3oz of my Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie dough in each of the mini springform pans when making this butter tart torte and the accompanying yogurt cheese cake. I blind baked each crust for 8 minutes before cooling them down and then filling them up for the full bake.

I really liked this crust alternative. It turned out quite well and I’m happy with the results. The crust was crunchy enough to need my fork to pierce it, but not too crunchy to be hard to chew. It was the perfect kind of base for a yogurt cheese cake given the crust provided a lovely sweetness that complimented the unsweetened (for the most part) yogurt filling to this cake. This is going to be my new go-to crust for cheese cakes!

However, when it came to the butter tart, I found the crust’s sweetness compounded with the butter tart filling’s sweetness just made it overpowering. I’m not a fan of overly sweet desserts to start with, but after eating one piece, aloud I counted down to the onset of my first ever diabetic coma. And I don’t even have diabetes!!

Needless to say, I believe the husband’s family will love this butter tart tort with my cookie crust. It’s just the perfect amount of everything they love: butter to goo ratio, fruit to nuts ratio, and sweetness in the crust ratio. I think this will be hit with them because it isn’t with me. We tend to have differing tastes in desserts right across the board historically. 😉

Apple Tart

AppleTart-Square

Radmila posted a picture on Facebook of a gorgeous apple tart with the apple peels rolled into roses and embedded in the custard. She expressed concern that it looked a bit dodgy without photos to follow with since the link didn’t supply any, so I did a fast and dirty version to show her it’s really not.

the version I decided to base my tart on called for making your own shortbread crust and made from scratch custard, but since I was doing this on the fly with limited time and apples, I used a sheet of store bought puff pastry dough, created trough ridges along all the edges and made a boxed white chocolate instant pudding for the filling. I only had two apples in the house, so I made 6 small apple roses for the tart. Again, fast & dirty.

So, in a pictorial for her, here we go:

1. I used my ravioli cutter to make crinkled edging by cutting off a small section all around the dough’s perimeter, then placed that same dough over top of the main edge, taking care to match the shape, and cutting off the excess where necessary. This is all extra work that one probably doesn’t need to do, but can if they want a nice edge. It only adds a few minutes to the final time, so if you want to, go for it.

AppleTart-Before-Dough

2. I cooked and cooled the instant pudding before spooning some of it into the middle. I didn’t use a lot because it filling isn’t the main event, the roses are. A little goes a long way. A thin layer is all it takes to make this tart tasty. Don’t worry about making a smooth layer with the custard because baking will cause it to smooth out nicely.

AppleTart-Before-Pudding

3. I formed the apple roses and let them dry on paper towels before gently placing them into the custard in select places and pushing them into the dough a bit. That seems to help hold the roses pedals in place so they don’t unfurl. (Obviously you’ll have way more roses to fill up this space than I did, but 6 is enough to give you an idea of how it’s done, right?)

AppleTart-Roses

4. I baked this tart at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and let it cool for another 15 minutes to allow the pudding or custard to finish setting. I suppose in the future when I make this again (all from scratch, none of this instant stuff), I will add simple syrup or some thinned out jam to the tops of the roses to give them gloss, and a bit of an egg wash will be applied to the dough for golden colour. I will probably dust the tart with a bit of powdered sugar, too.

AppleTart-Done

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Enjoy!