My good friends Steve and Julie were recently engaged to be married, and in celebration Miss C threw a dinner party. In keeping with dinner party tradition, we had a theme--Italian--and assignments. I have made myself the official dessert maker, a distinction I take seriously.
So seriously, when it was requested that I make a tiramisu, I rose to the challenge, and pulled out my Baking with Julia, for the perfect ladyfinger recipe. Julia did not disappoint.
sorry, but this is a horrible picture. you kind of get the idea, though, right?
Her ladyfingers involve egg yolks and eggs and sugar and cake flour--all ingredients I use almost every time I bake. And yet, by virtue of pairing them in different ways, mixing them for different amount of times, and adding ingredients in differing orders, the variations of batter, dough, and desserts are endless. This is never so true when making the genoise for the fingers. I had no idea that you could beat egg yolks until they turned white. You can (and should).
Also, as proof positive, I wanted to add a photo from my process, notably the parallel lines I drew upon Julia's recommendation, to ensure my fingers were all the same length and had room enough to get three dozen on a pan. (The sticks of butter are just to hold down the parchment. FYI, butter makes a great paperweight.) I am not one for following detailed and irritating directions, but for some reason I pulled out the T-square and indulged Julia in her OCD. I was not disappointed. My ladyfingers were quite uniform, and I would love to show them to you all lined up on the pans both before and after baking, but I got distracted when they came out of the oven, so intent on the next step.
The next step? The tiramisu. For the recipe I used this. And seeing as how cranky this guy appears to be, I followed his Italian in-laws' instructions down to the Italian mascarpone. Lucky for me, we happen to have an Italian grocery in Seattle, and there I was able to find--direct from Italy--the correct cheese.
And here's where you'll have to imagine whipping egg yolks until they're white (again!) and whipping whites until they're peaked and fluffy, and adding more cognac and cheese and layering the whole thing with bravado--because I didn't take any pictures of the process. I did, however, make my husband come downstairs and look as I was doing it, so excited was I.
Look! There they are! After having been dipped in cooled espresso/cocoa/cognac and lined perfectly in my pan! Thanks Julia! (Having uniform cookies made lining them up in the pan so simple.)
And here's the finished tiramisu, which I got a little over-excited about and upon which I dumped too much cocoa.
(Also, apropos of nothing, but something I noticed after snapping this last photo, it would appear that the color palette for our kitchen backsplash could adequately be called "tiramisu.")