Yay! I did it. After many months of wanting to join, I finally joined Daring Bakers.  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 the recipe from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Wow. This was really an amazing experience for me. The challenge called for participants to make from scratch, mascarpone cheese, Savoiardi or ladyfingers, vanilla pastry cream,and zabaglione. After reading through the recipes many times, I though what have I gotten myself into?  Seriously!  Yikes.  Then I made the ridiculous decision to serve it at a dinner party.  Okay, so now lets see, I’m making the most complicated dessert I’ve ever made, and I’m going to serve it to my friends without trying it first.  You betcha!  What the heck.  Whenever I serve something I’ve never tried before to my friend it drives my hubby absolutely crazy!  Probably because, being the high strung person I am, I start to worry (totally freak) about the outcome.  Well, in this case, there was absolutely no need for worry.  This ended up being the best, bar none, tiramisu I’ve ever tasted.  I’ve made many tiramisu before.  All were delicious but these one truly brought this dessert to a new level of delicious for me.  While there were many components, none were difficult to make.  Planning ahead and making each component with enough time for necessary chilling is important.  I suggest that you begin 2 full days before you wish to serve it.  Day one, make components.  Day two, assemble.  Day three, serve and swoon!

As you look over this recipe you will notice it is quite lengthy.  Remember that each component on its own is pretty easy to make.  Just make sure you make this when you can devote the necessary time.  Next time I make this, and believe me, there will be a next time, probably verysoon, I more than likely wont make the mascarpone from scratch.  It’s not that it was hard to make ( it was actually very easy ) it’s just that I didn’t think the homemade version had a better flavor.  The ladyfingers, on the other hand, were far superior to any I have been able to purchase.  They are definitely worth the time it takes to make them from scratch.  The zabaglione and the vanilla pastry cream must be made from scratch.  I promise you, even though this is a bit of a time commitment, will be very happy with the results of this incredible dessert!

Source: Carminantonio’s via The Washington Post



For The Zabaglione:

  • 2 Egg Yolks Large
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Marsala
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest

For The Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg Yolk Large
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk

For The Whipped Cream:

  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream Chilled
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For The Assembly:

  • 2 Cups Strong Brewed Coffee Warm
  • 1 Teaspoon Rum Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • 36 Store Bought Ladyfingers
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder


For The Zabaglione: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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: 

  1. 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.
  2. Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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:

  1. 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: 

  1. Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
  2. Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
  3. 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.
  4. Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.