Sunday, December 26, 2004

crazy fun all week (and THE tiramisu recipe)

it really was, with a few gratifying breaks in between:

a middle school concert of the band and proud of them all, putting in great effort and coming up triumphant. hooray especially for the youngest 5th graders!

a "sweet" preschool show, after making tiny gingerbread houses and thanking the industrious, patient, loving teachers

cookie gifts for us! hehe, cookies i gave, cookies i got in return (these were almost too pretty to eat)

xmas eve dinner --foods that cook themselves, so to speak: steamed lobsters, semi-boneless rib roast, potato-anchovy casserole, Daddy's quick stir-fry...

and -the long-awaited, once-a-year tiramisu.

the best one i made, so far, so i have to record it for posterity, upon special request of the 3 little kittens...who are demolishing it as we speak.

tiramisu was a famous dessert from the '80s which i first encountered in NYC's little Italy just north of busy bustling Chinatown. weekends, my friends and i would meet for dimsum then head on up across Canal St. to one of the cafes for espresso and dessert.

it is a trifle consisting of crisp ladyfingers or dry-ish sponge cake, drowning in coffee syrup with liqueur, and mascarpone-heavy cream-chocolate laden layers.
for our xmas eve dinner I used Kahlua instead of the traditional Marsala and was heavy-handed in pouring it in because! sshh! I wanted the little kittens fast asleep before midnight...

Kahlua and coffee syrup:
in a small bowl stir 2 cups of strong brewed coffee or espresso and 1/4 cup of Kahlua or other coffee liqueur and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.

for the mascarpone cream layers (based on "The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts," 1991, edited by Mildred Ying).

beat together:
1 8-oz. container of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 8-oz.package of cream cheese, room temp.,
1/2 tsp. salt,
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsps. of powdered (confectioners') sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract,
3 tbsps. more of Kahlua!, and
3 ozs. of grated semi-sweet chocolate.

in a small bowl whip 1 & 1/2 cups of heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
fold cream into cheese/chocolate mixture.

arrange a layer of sponge cake or 12 ozs. of store-bought lady fingers in bottom of glass dish and sprinkle generously with Kahlua and coffee mixture.

spread 1/3 of mascarpone-cream mixture, and repeat 2 layers more.
sprinkle 1 oz. of grated semi-sweet chocolate on top and garnish with dollops of more whipped cream if desired.
chill for at least 2 hours before serving.