Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tira My Sue

Birthdays are special in our family. They always have been, and they always will be. I have many fond memories of birthdays. Ice blocking when it failed to snow when I was 9. A tube party at Discovery Zone, dressing up like puppies and having a dog party (that one was my sister's but I imagined it to be mine...except I never got any presents...)

The last few years, I have thrown myself my own parties. When you get older and live away from home, sometimes you need to treat yourself. Or other people--we had a Bieber party for a roommate of mine a few years ago.

Since I love birthdays so much, I tend to go a bit overboard. Last year I made my husband (my then fiance a birthday cake extraodinaire. It cost me over $30 dollars to make, but eating it was worth every penny.

Yesterday we celebrated my MIL's birthday. The treat? Tiramisu. The food of the gods.

It took awhile to find the right ingredients, and we adapted the recipe a bit for budget purposes. Still. Heavenly. And it's currently in my fridge, calling out my name..."Alex, put a spoon in me and dig in. You ran home from the bus today. No worries. I'm delicious. EAT ME! "

Serves 6 (definitely not true. If you budget wisely, you can feed over 10 people)

2 egg whites
4 egg yolks
1 1/ cups powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese*
7 ounces lady fingers
3/4 cup freshly brewed, extra strong coffee, cooled**
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
unsweetend cocoa powder, for dusting

Stiffly whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the mascarpone, then the egg whites. Make a layer of lady fingers on the base of a deep, rectangular serving dish and brush them evenly with coffee. (NOTE: we dipped the lady fingers and then placed them in a 8x 8 in glass baking dish)
Cover with a layer of the mascarpone cream and sprinkle with a little grated chocolate and cocoa powder. Continue making layers until all the ingredients are used. Ending with a layer of mascarpone cream. Dust with cocoa and chill in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, or overnight.

(Note: since this cream is made of raw egg and cheese, make sure you keep it refrigerated as much as possible; don't let it sit out too long or you may increase the risk of getting sick)

*we are poor college students. So we broke the Italian rule and used cream cheese blended with 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. My husband nearly choked at my barbaric and monstrous suggestion. I think it still tasted great, but next time, I'll try it with the mascarpone.

**for those of you who are non-coffee drinkers I suggest using PERO. This is a non-caffenaited beverage popular in Europe, and less popular in the States. It is made of roasted chicory and barley rather than coffee beans. Similar in taste (I assume from the smell, since I've never drunk coffee myself) and I frequently use it as a substitute in the recipes I make that call for the stronger stuff.

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