(Recipe) Instant Tiramisu

I love Tiramisu. Nothing quite beats its lightness and delicate flavor if you are looking for the perfect ending to a nice Italian meal. The primary ingredient is Mascarpone cheese, and I can think of no better dish that highlights the sublime sweetness of the Mascarpone better than Tiramisu! The sweetness also acts as a beautiful contrast to the alcoholic kick from the espresso and coffee liqueur. If I had to guess, it is probably the strong aroma from coffee that gave the dessert its name, Tiramisu (or pick me up.)

One of the problems of restaurant Tiramisu is the overt sweetness that robs the dish of its many other subtler flavor. Also, many chefs like to add pastry cream to increase the firmness of the tiramisu for easier slicing, but I think that comes at the expense of taste. Given the common caveats of restaurant tiramisu, it seems like a good idea to make it from scratch. A typical recipe calls for the preparation to be done at least a day in advance to allow the flavors of the espresso laden lady fingers and the cream to mellow. Extra time is also needed in the fridge to give the Tiramisu a firmer texture, which is especially important if you intend to slice it, so it is not something you can prepare as and when you crave it. The preparation itself is not trivial either. You will need to whip up an egg white foam/meringue. How well the foam turns out will pretty much make or break the dish, which is why I would suggest whipping the egg white first before mixing anything else in case the egg whites comes out wrong. Overall, the ingredients are really simple, but the skill and time required to put them together are not. What if there was a way to create the dessert at a moment’s notice that anyone can do?

Enter the isi Siphon Whip, my latest kitchen toy. It promises to aerate/whip most cream-based liquid into a light cream with no residual taste. Best of all, the results are consistent. To illustrate how simple it is, imagine putting all the ingredients for the cream into a bowl, mixing them evenly, pouring the base into the whip and poof, instant tiramisu. There is not fumbling with foam, folding, refrigeration, recipe proportions etc. All you need is a simple N2O charge, a press of the lever and you will get a cream that is much lighter than what would have been possible with traditional methods. The only thing lacking is the time needed for the flavors of the espresso and cream to meld into something more delectable. Nonetheless, the notion of making tiramisu out of a can definitely has its appeal and really, nothing quite beats a dish that can be prepared instantly in front of a diner.

Recipe

Cream
224g Mascarpone cheese (one box from Trader Joes)
3 pasteurized eggs (I use medium, large will work)
1.5 tbsp of sugar (You don’t want to overwhelm the sweetness from the mascarpone)
1 shots Cognac or Brandy (2oz)

Cake
1 cups espresso, espresso sized cups (I made it with aeropress)
1 tbsp kahlua
1 tbsp cognac
Ladyfingers

4 Tablespoons powdered unsweetened cocoa.

Assembly
Mix all the cream ingredients together. You only need to mix it until there are no longer lumps of mascarpone.
Transfer to the siphon whip.
Charge with 1 canister of N2O.
Shake well and dispense.
(Tip) Keep the ingredients and siphon whip cold if possible. While not necessary, it does help the final cream hold its volume better.

Soak the ladyfingers in the espresso mixture, taking care not to soak it for too long.
Layer the lady fingers, dispense cream, sprinkle cocoa powder, repeat x1
(Tip) The ratio of cake to lady fingers is entirely up to you. For a more cake-like consistency, use less cream. Personally, the cream is what makes the dish for me, so I would add more cream than lady fingers. To do away with the hassle of slicing, I typically plate it in a glass as well.

Enjoy!

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