Sunday, 31 January 2016

Tiramisu Part 2: Assembling

Dear all,

Kornelia Santoro
Although restaurants prepare single servings of Tiramisu, this has nothing to do with the original. A real Tiramisu is layered into a big dish. Serving and eating it is a messy affair, nothing pretty. Alternating layers of soft Mascarpone cream with soaked Savoiardi biscuits are essential for the taste.  

To soak the biscuits, you need really strong coffee. I use the coffee from our simple mocha-machine. To get the right taste, you need to lace the coffee with a bit of booze. In Europe I take Amaretto and Cognac. Here in Goa I used the local brandy Honeybee.
The Indian mascarpone is a lot less creamy and denser than the European one, so I used one more egg to lighten the cream.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me.

The recipe for the Savoiardi biscuits in part 1 of this newsletter.

Wishing you a delicious start into 2016 and happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family


Tiramisu on plate
(for a round dish with about 9 inches diameter)
  • 30 Savoiardi biscuits (see part 1 of this newsletter)
  • 5 eggs
  • 75 grams icing sugar
  • 450 grams Mascarpone
  • 200 ml Mocha or Espresso
  • 4 tablespoons alcohol of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder

Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites with two tablespoons icing sugar until stiff peaks form.
egg whites with stiff peaksBeat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until creamy.
egg yolks creamed with sugarAdd the Mascarpone slowly by slowly and beat with a hand mixer to a smooth cream.
egg yolks with MascarponeSlide the beaten egg whites on top of the cream and carefully fold it together until you have a fairly smooth cream.
Mixing Mascarpone creamPlace all the necessary ingredients in easy reach to assemble the Tiramisu.
assembling TiramisuAdd the alcohol to the coffee and dunk the biscuits into the liquid.
Cover the bottom of the dish with coffee soaked biscuits.
assembling Tiramisu 2Spread cream over the biscuits.
assembling Tiramisu 3Place another layer of soaked biscuits over the cream.
Sprinkling cacao over Tiramisu
Finish with a layer of cream. Sprinkle the Tiramisu with cocoa powder and let it set in the fridge for at least six hours.
Tiramisu ready

Thursday, 21 January 2016

How to make Tiramisu from scratch: Part 1 Savoiardi biscuits

  Dear all,

Let’s start 2016 by sweetening our days. I combine this with executing a recipe that lingers on my mind: Tiramisu.

We all know that sugar is not healthy. But I think, a little bit of sugar brightens our days. As long as we eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables, our bodies can deal with a little sugar once in a while - especially when it is combined with good feelings. Tiramisu is a happy maker. My men love this typical Italian dessert. 20 years ago, I had tried to make Tiramisu here in India. There was no chance to buy real Mascarpone then, so I used homemade paneer instead. It was not bad, but did not hit the spot.

Last summer during holidays in Germany, my son Valentino begged me to make Tiramisu. In Germany there is plenty of Mascarpone and it is quite affordable. My Tiramisu was delicious, if I may say so myself. I had to promise my son I would do it in Goa also.

That’s why I start 2016 with making good on this promise. Nowadays, several Indian dairy companies offer Mascarpone, the fresh, rich cheese with the strangely unique taste, indispensable for Tiramisu. Unfortunately, you still cannot find the Savoiardi biscuits – also called Lady Fingers – in supermarkets here.

So I decided to bake them myself. Because the recipe for Savoiardi and the making of Tiramisu would inflate one newsletter, I divide this month’s newsletter in two parts. First I describe how to prepare the Savoiardi and then I show how to assemble the Tiramisu.

Fun fact for all people interested in food history: Although Tiramisu is known today as one of the typical Italian desserts, it is quite young. It was invented around 1960 in Treviso, Italy. The owner of the Restaurant La Beccherie and a nearby baker both claim they invented this dish.

Whatever the historic facts, Tiramisu remains delicious.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

Savoiardi Biscuits

Savoiardi biscuitsIngredients:
(for around 30 pieces):
  • 6 eggs
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 150 grams wholewheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar
Savoiardi are made from biscuit dough, which is prepared only with eggs, flour and sugar. Start by separating the eggs. There are several methods how to do this. I break the eggs by hitting them against the edge of my kitchen sink. Then I crack them open; I let the egg white drip into a bowl, while catching the egg yolk in one halve of the egg shell. Be careful: You need egg whites without any egg yolk in it. Fat of any kind has the result that egg whites will not form stiff peaks, an absolute must for biscuit dough.
separating eggs
 Preheat your oven to 190 degrees. These biscuits need to go into a warm oven – otherwise they collapse.  Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks with a hand mixer. After a little while, when the eggs have just started to foam up, I add two tablespoons of the icing sugar. That stabilizes the egg whites.
egg whites stiff peaks
Add the rest of the sugar to the egg yolks and beat them, until they have gained volume and turned into a cream.
beating egg yolks
Place the beaten egg whites on top of the egg yolks and sieve the flour over them.
mixing biscuit dough
Carefully mix everything together. Scrape from the edges and keep turning until you have fairly uniform, fluffy dough.
mixed biscuit dough
Place a silicone mat or baking paper onto a cookie tray. Don’t butter the cookie tray to avoid sticking. This will keep the biscuits from rising properly. Scatter the castor sugar evenly over the cookie tray.
piped Savoiardi first try Pipe the biscuits as evenly as possible. My first batch did not come out so well. But I learned quickly.
piped Savoiardi 2nd try
I tried both my gas and my electric oven to bake the biscuits. My electric oven seemed to work a bit better, but it cooked the biscuits mostly from the top – while my gas oven cooked them from the bottom. Either way, I had to turn them after around 15 minutes. Give them at least five minutes more on the other side.

In the end, I got a bit bored with the piping so I decided to just place heaps of the dough onto the cookie tray. This worked actually quite well and I think I will use this simple approach next time.
 Savoiardi biscuits
This picture shows the different versions of my Savoiardi (from left): Savoiradi formed with spoon, baked in electric convection oven, Savoiardi piped and baked in electric oven, Savoiardi piped first try and baked in gas oven, Savoiardi piped 2nd try and baked in gas oven.

Let the biscuits cool down and cover them with cling film or place them into an airtight container.

Soon you will receive the second part of the newsletter, showing how to assemble the Tiramisu.