Thursday, August 27, 2015

Easy Eggless Tiramisu

I enjoyed this particular dessert more than I expected. Ironic considering that I don't like coffee  or any alcoholic drinks and both are essential ingredients in this Italian sweet. The heat is also scorching in these past few weeks and although raw eggs add more taste and texture  in the whole recipe, omitting it was an easy decision . The dessert turned out all right, tasted quiet good actually  and without putting someone's digestive tract at risk.

Many Tiramisu recipes call for Masala ,  Baileys or  Amaretto . I am serving this dessert on my birthday and there are few kids around.  They might even enjoy coffee tinged desserts but serving them anything with alcohol is simply out of the question. I used amaretto syrup in this recipe, the non alcoholic one, making it as child friendly as it could be. 


300 g mascarpone cheese
500 ml cream
5 tbsp. Amaretto syrup
6 tbsp. sugar
400 g lady finger biscuits
300 ml brewed coffee
100 g dark chocolate, shaved
70 g cocoa powder  

 1. Whisk mascarpone cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in Amaretto, Masala or Baileys if using. You can use vanilla extract as substitute .Whip together cream and sugar until soft peak is formed. Fold mascarpone and cream together until well combined.
 2. Put a spoonful of mixture on the serving dish. Spread evenly. This will make actually ''glue'' your biscuits to the serving dish.
 3. Dip lady finger in the coffee. Don't let it soak. A second or two is all you need. Since I don't drink coffee ,  I bought ready made brewed coffee from the groceries. Tseheee!
 4. Arrange coffee dipped ladyfingers onto your serving dish. Sprinkle 50 g of shaved chocolate and 1 tbsp. of cocoa over the lady fingers.
5. Spread 1/2 of mascarpone and cream mixture over it.
6. Prepare another layer of coffee dipped ladyfingers , cocoa and  shaved chocolate.

7. Spread the rest of the mascarpone and cream mixture. Dust with cocoa powder. Cover with cling foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. Let the flavours flirt  and  fornicate before digging in.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lime Pie with Meringue

Pretty pie!Pretty pie!I baked a pretty pie!

 It's the first time I tried making a Lime Pie and it turn out way better than I expected! A happy disposition is the best birthday present I could gave to myself. Yup, yours truly celebrated another year of far- from- perfect but nevertheless meaningful existence. In gratitude, I decided to throw a not so quiet dinner   at home, invited the family over and cooked up a storm.

The big day was warm and humid, wasps and bees from the garden decided to join the party, uninvited. Just like my life, occasional  unwanted distractions come buzzing  but instead of having a fit and swathe it away , I try to keep a cool head, tackle it and make the best out of it , if I could. Inner peace tend to come easier with age.

Anyway, This year's birthday celebration was Italian inspired. I made antipasti from scratch, which was actually more tedious and time consuming than I thought.

Main dishes were Spezzatino Di Manzo ( Italian Beef stew). Pesce al Forno (  Baked Fish  ) and Salsa di Gamberetti (  shrimp sauce) served with pasta and gnocchi. Did not manage to snap a picture, my excited guests were unto it before I could say, ''Cheese!''.

Finally , the desserts:  Tiramisu , Panna Cotta and this pie, which is as Italian as The Godfather's Marlon Brando....I know.

As much as I enjoy cooking for my loved ones, preparing many dishes alone is like an accident waiting to happen. I had my fair share of such culinary misfortunes. Risotto as dry as my mother's humour , meat as tough as a chronic cough and oh, desserts so catastrophic, the only consolation I had is never gaining a single gram from it since it just end up in the bin. Why, you're welcome trash can!

Just like this dinner, the scene did not run like a well -scripted plot. My Sicilian -style baked salmon was soooo delicious and so undercooked I have to re- baked it, twice! The Panna Cotta looked promising but it was too liquidy,  FF almost drown in it.
I can only groan in frustration.

A slice of this pie made everything better. Every mouthful is a  delight. There's a perfect mélange of soury custard and sweet meringue in every bite as well as a contrasting play of crumbly biscuit crust,  velvety filling and marshmallow like toppings in my mouth.  I can't help but close my eyes as I savour and enjoyed a rather generous slice, blew an imaginary candle in my mind. I made a  birthday cake and just ate it. Life is good and I could not ask for more. Still a happy birthday, after all!


For the Pie crust:
200 g biscuits 
( Graham preferably but I use Leibniz , it's more common in Germany)
90 g of butter, softened
3 tbsp. granulated sugar

Lime custard: 
4 large or 5 small egg yolks 
1 can of sweetened condense milk
1/2 cup of lime juice
a pinch of salt ( I used lime salt)
1 tbsp. of grated lime zest 

Meringue topping:

4 egg whites
150 g white sugar

 1. Heat oven to 175° C. Using a food processor  or mortar and pestle, crust biscuit into fine crumbs. Stir in sugar and softened butter, mix thoroughly until well combined. Press mixture ( which should resemble wet sands) onto the bottom and side of a well greased pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until firms up. Set aside .
2. Using a hand mixer , beat egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Beat in condense milk , lime juice, salt  and zest until thickens. 

 4. Pour custard onto the prepared crust. Bake for 30 minutes or until custard is set but the middle is is jiggly . 

5.  Make meringue. Beat egg whites until soft peak is formed. Gradually add sugar , keep whisking  until stiff peak is formed.  If you don't intend to bake the meringue and serve it as it is, make sure to cook meringue before ,   bain-marie style. 

6. Decoratively spread or pipe  meringue over custard. This is my second pie, baked few days after my birthday. You can toast the topping using a kitchen torch and serve  or pop it back in the oven and bake at 180°c  for 12  more minutes until it becomes golden brown. Your call. I did both ways . Both looked and tasted fantastic!
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