Sunday, June 14, 2009

Food. It's exciting.

I have made tiramisu again! Last time I made it, my cousin said it was possibly the best thing she had ever eaten. However, last time I used coffee, boysenberries and brandy. This time I have used white hot chocolate, cherries, and merlot. I think sometimes I have too much faith in my flavour-matching abilities. (Next time: white chocolate/blueberries/vodka; coffee/apricots/brandy; dark chocolate/mandarins/cointreau.) We shall see how it turns out. I've put the recipe for the original tiramisu - my own personal recipe, I should add - at the bottom of the post, in case you'd like to try this at home - I have a sneaking feeling I may have posted this before but oh well.

Thank you, Brooke, for Naming the Ensquiggle - the word 'tilde' was in my brain, but not in the right part of it for easy accessibility.

How do you guys imagine your brains? I tend to see mine as being a towering, asymmetric chest of drawers, with some cupboards closed and locked, some constantly left half-open, and some which have been shoved closed-ish but still have a couple of socks hanging out. All of the cupboards are of varying size, and labelled, but some ('cooking') are much more organised than others ('what I did last weekend after drinking all that wine.') Luckily there is some guy in there who opens up all the cupboards from time to time and dusts off the thoughts and organises them neatly.

Also, some of the cupboards - like the one marked 'childhood,' for example - open up to reveal a filing cabinet that stretches back further than you can see, and it is in one of those filing cabinets ('punctuation & the English language'), about 2/3rds of the way back, that tildes were. (Between 'what a gerund is' and 'when to use square brackets.') So next time that I'm talking to you and I can't remember the word 'heresy', please try to remember that I'm standing on a little stepladder in my mind, frantically rifling through a drawer and flinging irrelevant thoughts all over the floor.


about 1c sugar
4 eggs
normal-sized tin of boysenberries (or other fruit)
packet of mascarpone (200-250g)
about 1/2 c of brandy (or other alcohol; if using wine, use more)
two small sponges
1/2 c really strong coffee (or other hot drink)

Drain the boysenberries til about 2/3rds of the liquid in the tin is no longer in the tin. Don't drain them down the sink! We will use that liquid later to make a pretentious coulis. It's like a sauce, but more pretentious. Tip the boysenberries into a bowl, add 1/3 c sugar and about the same of brandy. Leave this to, um, fester while you do the other stuff.

Separate the eggs - whites in one bowl, yolks in another. I specify this not because I think you are an idiot, but because the first time I made this I threw out the yolks. Whoops. Add the packet of mascarpone to the yolks. Also add the rest of the brandy. Beat until smooth - it'll get a bit thicker as well. Put that aside.

Add half a cup of sugar to the egg whites, and beat until they form stiff peaks. Ha fucking ha. If you are a normal person, like me, you will have no idea how to separate eggs properly, get bits of yolk in the white, and they will not form stiff peaks; in fact, they will not form peaks at all. Here is a secret: this is perfectly OK. Just whip the fuckers until they have made it obvious that they're not going to get any more whipped, then sigh in disgust and turn to the sponge.

Put the sponge in the bottom of the bowl you're going to serve the tiramisu in. Easy. Drizzle the coffee (not all of it) over the sponge. Worry that you have not drizzled on enough coffee. Splosh some more on. Worry that you have added too much coffee. Put the coffee down. Drink some of the brandy.

Get the boysenberries and spoon a layer of these on top of the drizzly sponge. Mmm mmm. Maybe you could taste them. Delicious! You are doing well. Don't eat all the boysenberries.

Tip the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Beat until smooth & thick, about the consistency of whipped cream just before it starts going into floppy peaks. Spoon some of this (don't worry if it's a bit runny, it'll set) onto the boysenberries until they're all covered. This should use about half the mascarpone mixture.

Grate some chocolate - did I mention you needed a little bit of chocolate? - on top of that. (If you're making a variation, use white chocolate/hot chocolate powder/cinnamon or whatever.) Then put the other sponge on and repeat the coffee-berries-mascarpone-chocolate thing but this time use everything up.

Chuck that in the fridge for a good 6 hours - gives it time to set, and also gives the juice & so on time to drip through the sponge and make it amazingly fucking delicious.

For bonus points, get the boysenberry juice you set aside right at the start and tip it into a little saucepan. Any leftover boysenberry/brandy mix can also go in. Add sugar - I have no idea how much I used. Maybe half a cup? Probably more. Bring this to the boil, then simmer it for about maybe 5, 10 minutes, or until you get bored. Don't taste it, it's really hot and will kind of caramelise on your tongue, and stir it pretty regularly so it doesn't do the same thing on the bottom of the pot. Add a few drops of lemon essence (or lemon juice, if you have it). When this has simmered for a while, strain it (through a sieve/tea strainer/coffee filter/proper straining device) and whack it in the fridge. This is an appropriate time to chant my personal cooking motto, "always use a strainer to prevent a misdemeanour." Congratulations! You have made a coulis, sort of. This can be served with the tiramisu - the best thing about it is that it allows you to say things like '...the tartness of the boysenberry and lemon coulis really sets off the sweetness of the tiramisu.'

Yeah, I know. I should have a cooking show. Like Nigella, but with swears.


queenofthecastle said...


I don't really make desserts (I'm more of a muffin girl) but I'm totally using that recipe.

Would Nigella with swears be sort of like Gordon Ramsay crossed with Nigella? Or would you not be as angry as Gordon Ramsay? Would it just be casual swears chucked in as the odd adjective?

You are welcome for the tilde :)
My brain is sort of like a big dark room, and occasionally a desk lamp switches on to illuminate a piece of paper in a typewriter with something written on it, or a photograph on a desk. And every now and then I will discover a large corridor that has until then been hidden in the darkness. It curves around back in time.

Your filing system sounds like much more fun!

WV: phaim. What you have when you are phunky and phat and on the cover of US weekly.

a cat of impossible colour said...

This is great! Am totally going to make it. I need a bigger dessert repertoire. Currently it is:

1) Awesome Bread and Butter Pudding
2) Lemon Thing you gave me the recipe for a hundred years ago. Remember when I threw out the zest?
3) Bought Thing
4) Extra bottle of wine