COOKING ADVENTURE #61: Raspberry White Chocolate Tiramisu
The last time I tried to make tiramisu, I was defeated by an evil cookie known as the Anisette Sponge. The putrid taste of anise completely overwhelmed my decadent tiramisu and tasted as if someone had dumped a ton of licorice into it. It was just awful. I knew when I failed at making tiramisu last year that I would have to make another attempt at it. I can’t let myself be beaten so easily. The opportunity to prove myself came with the invite to a potluck party for a couple departing co-workers. Having free reign to bring any kind of dish I wanted, I decided to not go for something dripping in chocolate but also nothing that someone else might bring. I was craving raspberries that week and thought the combination of those and white chocolate might be a different spin to try for a dessert. I searched through Pinterest for all raspberry chocolate recipes until I stumbled upon this amazing tiramisu recipe from Sweet Sugar Bean. It looked so delicious that I knew I would have to tackle that as my redemption from last years disaster. And folks, all I can say is that I aced it… LIKE A BOSS. (I was told never to say that term because it “[didn’t] sound right coming from [me]”. I’m going to say it all the time now.)
As I had stated before, this tiramisu was for a retirement party for a couple of co-workers. It was a big thing since they’d both been there for a long time and I wanted to make something special. The ingredients were simple enough and I wasn’t necessarily worried about catching anything on fire or hurting myself in any accidental way. The evening before the party, I assembled all of the ingredients and dove into making the tiramisu.
The first thing is to make the whipped cream for the dish. Let it be known that I had the ingredients to do this. However, I had also bought a container of Cool Whip at the store because all of my attempts to make whipped cream usually end in disaster. My whipped cream never has enough substance and never forms “stiff peaks” like its supposed to. So, instead of going through the motions and trying to make something that was likely going to be frustrating and ruin my mood for the evening, I just used the store bought. I know… whipped cream chickened me out. Oh well.
Because the stores around here are apparently lacking in Marscapone cheese, I most always substitute with cream cheese. I took a pound (two blocks) of it and put it into a bowl to soften up. I decided to try and break it up with a wooden spatula, too, so that the mixing would go easier. Then from the cupboard, I produced my recently purchased bottle of Triple Sec. Now, in the original recipe, they call for something called Grand Marnier. Well folks, I went to the liquor aisle and yes, they did have this. But (and this is a big BUT), it cost about four times as much as it would have just to buy a bottle of Triple Sec. Did I mention that the Grand Marnier was in a smaller container, too? And since I’m not much of a liquor lush queen, that stuff would have sat up in my cupboard until the next ice age. So, I took the required 2 tbsp of triple sec and added that to the whipped cream. Then with my insane electric mixer, I took the bowl into the living room (so that my neighbors didn’t have to hear it) and started mixing everything together.
The electric mixer has always smelled very metallic every time I go to mix something with it. It’s probably not supposed to be doing that and at any moment might explode without warning, but for that evening, it got the job done. After the triple sec had infused with the cream cheese, I took 1/4 of the whipped cream (which ended up being about 1/3 of a cup and folded it into the mixture) and blended it. Then, after it had become a smoother texture, I added the rest in and blended again.
That was pretty much the only difficult thing to do in this recipe. The next bit was all about assembling everything. I had to pick a container to put it in and while most sites suggested a trifle bowl or at least something glass, I discovered I didn’t have quite the right thing in my arsenal. The closest thing was a glass baking dish (but wasn’t see-through). The benefit of having a see-through glass dish for this is so that you can see all the layers and that can make you feel twice as hungry than if you were just looking at it from the top. But the only glass things I have are a mixing bowl that’s just WAY too big and a glass measuring cup/bowl that’s narrow at the bottom and gets wider toward the top. Neither would have worked for the layering that the tiramisu needs. The other option was a spring form pan but mine has very low sides and wouldn’t even accommodate one layer of the tiramisu.
Grabbing the baking dish, I put it on the stove top. The first thing was to layer the lady fingers on the bottom of the bowl. Seeing as how I still can’t find lady fingers ANYWHERE on the Midcoast of Maine, I resorted to using pound cake which works relatively the same except that its just a tad thicker. I had to break it up into strips and put them in like puzzle pieces to completely coat the bottom of the dish. At least they weren’t Anisette Sponge cookies this time. Yuck. Next was to brush some triple sec over the pound cake pieces. I don’t own a basting brush or any kind of brush for use in the kitchen. I was trying to think what might be the best solution but being that it was getting late, my brain had conveniently decided to switch to power save mode some time ago. This being said, all rational thought had eluded me at this point. I decided that the best idea would be to just dribble the triple sec gently over each piece to achieve the slight hint of orangey flavor. Except that didn’t turn out so well. As I tipped the bottle ever so slightly, a rush of triple sec spilled forth and completely soaked the pound cake on the bottom of the hand. I then decided to try and distribute the triple sec over the other pieces with a spoon which didn’t work because the pound cake had already sucked it all in. Smart, I know.
I took my bowl of whipped cream/cream cheese mixture and spread that like a white cumulus cloud over the pound cake. It was like a breath of celestial perfection, the combination of vanilla, whipped cream, and slight hint of citrus rejuvenating my senses. I was suddenly very excited again about finishing this concoction (and possibly trying some later that night!) Once that had been spread, I pulled out my bag of thawed raspberries and sprinkled them over the top of the white evenly. I decided to use frozen here because the only other alternative is organic and those were pretty expensive at the store that week. Then in all the spaces that the raspberries left, white chocolate chips effectively blanketed the remaining space. The original recipe says to use “shaved white chocolate”. I suppose if you aren’t on a time crunch, you could do this too and it would look a little more elegant.
I did another layer of pound cake. This time I was able to just carefully distribute the triple sec with help from a spoon. As I put the last layer of whipped cream cheese over that, I began to notice that I’d run out of room. I desperately patted down on the pound cake to try and get enough space for the raspberries and white chocolate chips to go on top. I was delighted to discover that I had enough pound cake and whipped cloud cream left to make my own mini tiramisu to enjoy. I assembled that in another bowl. It didn’t look nearly as pretty as the big one but presentation isn’t as important as how it tastes. Thankfully, the big tiramisu looked gorgeous and was an utter sensation at the party the next night. I had several people ask me about it and I was so satisfied with the results that I knew I would have to make it again. This has to be one of the easiest and prettiest desserts that I’ve ever made. I loved it!
Next week… uh… this week, on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be taking a swing at a delicious pot roast recipe from The Pioneer Woman’s Blog! Stay tuned!