These weeks leading up to the holidays always seem to go by in a blur. Jam packed with volunteer activities, appointments, parties, meetings, work, work, and more work its a wonder how we manage to squeeze in any fun at all. Its the time of year when the most fun you have are those peaceful fleeting minutes out of your hectic day when you can relax. When you slip away and do something just for you. Even if its just those minutes in the car on your commute to enjoy a great coffee, or the few moments you have to watch grown up TV after the kids get tucked in.
I’m especially tired this month. I’d like to blame it on my MS, but I’m pretty sure its the fact that I just got done hosting a VIP party that lasted 4 days. It sounds like a crazy good time, but 4 days spent making sure everything is perfectly perfect for everybody else can drain the life right out of a person. I was definitely looking forward to a day off of doing absolutely nothing. And I mean NOTHING.
So ask me why-when I was reading my twitter feed, and spotted a cooking photo contest, hosted by Giada De Laurentiis, that had a deadline of the next morning, that had already been going on for a month- did I think it was something that I just had to participate in?! Out of the 50 recipes, I chose Tiramisu,
because I wanted to eat it. because I had a good idea of how I wanted to set up the pic. I should have known it was going to be a bigger challenge then whipping up a late night tiramisu ought to be when I couldn’t find an espresso cup for sale with in a 50 mile radius. Damn we Americans like our coffee’s BIG. So I went to my last resort. One of my dearest friends Marina. She collects candles. Like, hundreds of them. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain I recall that she has a little baby espresso cup candle on her kitchen counter. I call. “Oh I used that candle all up she says”, my heart races, “but I think I still have that cute little cup around here somewhere. Oh! Here it is!” I’ll be right over to get it. So I got my cup, and its now 10:30 pm the night before the contest deadline of 12 pm the next day.
I steal a moment to relax before I dive into whipping the mascarpone, eggs, and sugar. A precious stolen moment after a 12 hour day. I’m trying to decide if I have time for a tea, when my numero uno kitchen assistant makes a loud and somewhat painful exclamation. Followed by “I don’t want to tell you what I’ve done.” In any circumstance these are never good words to hear, so I brace myself for the dramatic confession. “Well I got everything on the list that you asked for, except the cheese.” When you say cheese I
scream ask, do you mean the mascarpone? The main ingredient that tiramisu’s have been made from since the fall of the holy roman empire? “Yes.” OK, I state calmly, I guess I will have to go find cheese somewhere. Never mind that its clearly 11:30pm on a Sunday and every store that could possible carry mascarpone cheese has long since locked its gourmet door. The tiramisu needs to set for only 8 hours to cut a decent slice out of it, so I calculate that I still have time to get my hands on some cheese.
We get to the first store. Closed 10 minutes ago. Please I’m having a cheese emergency! ” You know,” my assistant states matter of factually, “a normal person would give up on the tiramisu thing at this point, and just make something else, we have spaghetti! I’m sure that’s one of the 50 choices, come on its Giada.” I know one more place I tell him with determination. Lets try it. They were open! Til one am, but they only had one 8 oz package of mascarpone- I need 16oz. I grab a cream cheese and figure I will make it work when I mix them together.
I’m not sure if its the cream cheese, or the up hill battle I faced in its production, but its the best Tiramisu I’ve ever tasted. Because I had to use the ingredients I could find, my finished recipe is adapted from the original recipe in Giada’s book Everyday Italian. For that recipe please visit Giada De Laurentiis and also if you’d please take a moment to vote for my finished photo I would love ya for it.
5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
8 oz mascarpone cheese
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 ½ cups strong espresso, cooled
2 teaspoons dark rum
24 packaged ladyfingers
1 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Longer if by hand. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add vanilla paste, cream cheese, sour cream and whipping cream and beat until mixture is thickening. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.
In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso mixture very quickly soaking them too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them, if necessary in order to fit the bottom.
Spread 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 8 hours will give the best slices.
sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve. Coco powder works as well.