I know you are probably extremely tired of reading about Italian food because all I have written about for the past few weeks is pasta and cheese, both homemade. That is all about to come to an end this week because I am hosting my Sunday School Class party at my home and serving, that’s right, homemade pasta and cheese; everything that I have written about since I started the column again.
The sauces will be the Alfredo and Marinara recipes from a few weeks ago. And along with the pasta we will enjoy Caesar Salad, like you read about last week, and to finish off we will have Tiramisu and Italian Cream cupcakes.
Last week I told you what a disaster my pasta was that I made for my friends from Dallas, so this time I worked hard to be sure the pasta did not “jam” up. And rather than freeze them I hung them to dry. It was really not that hard, just a step I thought I could skip.
After about five gallons of milk I finally got some mozzarella to behave like it should and have a small amount of cheese to show for my time. Not sure it is worth the effort but I can say I have given it a try.
The main dessert is Tiramisu, an Italian dessert that I had not heard of until Mickey’s Pizza opened up in Buffalo. It is a favorite of my granddaughters so it behooved me to learn to make it from scratch. I do not use the liquor called for in the recipe but use a cappuccino mixture, I picked up at Sam’s, that it is very good.
All recipes call for Lady Finger cookies as a crust or base and I could not find them in Buffalo so I made them from scratch too. They are very simple to make and light as a feather. The recipe also calls for mascarpone cheese, which is an extremely smooth cheese that I made from scratch. So following is the Tiramisu recipe, the mascarpone recipe and the Ladyfinger recipe. If you make this let me know how you like it. I will report to you how my class likes it, that is, if the reviews are good. Otherwise you will never hear one word. Remember, I make this over several days so it is not nearly as bad as it looks. One thing at a time!!
4 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit large pastry bag with a plain ½ inch round tube. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add 2 tbsp. of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. In another bowl beat egg yolks and remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale in color. Sift flour and baking powder together. Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour and then add the remaining egg whites. Transfer mixture to pastry bag and pipe out onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes. (This was too long in my oven so be sure to check at about 5 minutes.)
Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
2 cups heavy cream
Pour cream into a large saucepan and heat to a simmer. Stir in lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes at around 190 degrees, till mixture thickens. Stir often.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour through a strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth and positioned over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for eight hours. Scrape cheese from cheesecloth into a storage container and press plastic wrap over the surface. (This is very similar to making Ricotta cheese except you use milk for Ricotta rather than cream for Mascarpone.)
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
In medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for one minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator one hour.
In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with coffee mixture. Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of 7x11 inch dish. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
(I wanted to make individual servings so I made the ladyfingers to fit a cupcake pan and built the dessert in a clear plastic tumbler.)
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