Coffee Tiramisu Parfait with Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts. The combination of the mascarpone cheese filling with the strong flavor of the coffee syrup is to die for. Traditional tiramisu calls for ladyfinger cookies, but I used amaretti cookies because they are small and fit in the parfait glasses without having to break them. I think amaretti cookies are delicious on their own or when paired with an espresso cappucino, but they take on a whole new life when used in this velvety Italian dessert.
I prefer making tiramisu parfaits rather than the regular "family style" tray of tiramisu. The parfaits are easy to serve if you have a lot of mouths to feed, and they look very elegant whenever served at a formal dinner at home. The small portions will make your guests feel less guilty.
Yields: 144 Tbs superfine sugar
3 egg yolks
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 pint heavy cream, cold
1 pinch salt
2 tsp imitation brandy extract, (2 Tbs of brandy for adults)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
3 Tbs instant coffee
2 Tbs mocha extract, (1/2 cup of Kalhua for adults)
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, for decoration
1 package amaretti cookies, (7 oz)
1 pinch fleur de sel
1 dozen fresh raspberries
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 drizzle lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp raspberry extract, (2 Tbs raspberry liqueur for addults)
1 Tbs light corn syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs bittersweet chocolate shavings (or curls), or coco powder
For the mascarpone filling:
Beat the 3 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar in a small stainless steel mixing bowl. Prepare a double boiler: Fill a saucepan with water, make sure the water barely covers the height of the stainless steel mixing bowl. I always like to add a little kitchen towel at the bottom of the saucepan. The saucepan won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in your egg mixture. Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the stainless steel bowl in the saucepan and start whisking the egg mixture vigurously for about 3-5 minutes using an handheld mixer. You'll get a pale yellow foam and the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. The mixture should fall like a ribbon of sauce when you lift the whisk.
In another mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese to soften the product. Slowly add the egg mixture to the mascarpone. Add a little egg at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling. Add the vanilla and brandy extracts.
Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. Just make sure your handheld beater is clean prior to whipping the cream for an optimum result. The whipping cream should be whipped cold. Whisk the cream until soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar.
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to get an airy batter.
Plastic-wrap the container and place in the refrigerator until the rest of the components of the tiramisu are ready.
For the coffee syrup + amaretti cookies:
Combine 2 cups of sugar, the instant coffee and boiling water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then add the mocha extract. Let the syrup cool down for about 5 minutes.
Soak each amaretti cookies in the syrup for about 2-1/2 minutes. Transfer the cookies directly into the glasses or onto a plate using a fork. The cookies should absorb the coffee syrup but should not be soggy.
For the chocolate raspberry sauce (optional):
Place all the raspberries in an immersion blender until all the fruits are pureed. Strain in a sieve and discard all the raspberry seeds. Transfer to a bowl, then add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, the raspberry extract and the lemon juice. Set aside.
Place the semi-sweet chocolate, the corn syrup and the fleur de sel in a bowl.
In a little saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of heavy cream to a boil and pour over the semi-sweet chocolate. Add the raspberry puree to the chocolate. Mix with a wooden spoon. The sauce will thicken as the chocolate melts. Set aside.
Line up 10 mini trifle bowls or 14 small parfait glasses (I used brandy glasses). Add a first layer of the coffee-soaked amaretti cookies and add 2 tablespoons of the coffee syrup. For the mini trifle bowls, I placed 4 amaretti cookies per layer and only 2-3 for the brandy glasses. Drizzle the chocolate raspberry sauce on the cookies. Cover with about 1-2 tablespoons of the mascarpone filling. Repeat the same layer one more time. Finish with the mascarpone. Plastic-wrap each individual container and place in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up some other smell from the refrigerator if the containers are not sealed properly.
When serving, sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top of the tiramisu.
The method used to ensure that the egg yolks are fully cooked is basically the same procedure as used to make a sabayon.
I prefer using superfine sugar. It is a fine-grained sugar and it dissolves much quicker than the regular one.
The chocolate raspberry sauce is optional. I think it adds more flavor to the dessert though and a better visual in the glass. When you drizzle the chocolate raspberry sauce, make sure to drizzle some of the sauce all the way around the inside of the glass to get a nice marble swirl.
For the chocolate raspberry sauce... While waiting for the heavy cream to boil, you have to be very careful. Don't go anywhere else. If the phone rings or someone's at the door, let it be. You gotta focus on your cream otherwise you'll be cleaning your stove and scraping the burnt cream all night long. As soon as some bubbles come up, remove from the stove and immediately add to your chocolate chips.
Per David Lebovitz's advice, to make a smoother more spreadable product, add a tablespoon of light corn syrup to the chocolate raspberry sauce. I used the same technique on my caramel sauce and my marshmallow banana frosting.
I usually add a little salt to most desserts. Salt brings out all the flavors. A teeny pinch of fleur de sel will enhance the taste of your sweets.
For the chocolate shavings (or chocolate curls), there are 2 methods depending of the chocolate you have. If you have a chocolate bar like the Valrhona baking chocolate, just pull out your vegetable peeler and go to work on the bar. I use the swivel-bladed Messermeister peeler. I think it's the best peeler. It's very sharp and make very thin curls. It's very useful for food decoration. Or if you have chocolate chips like the Guittard chocolate chips, just place about 1/3 cup in a little bowl. Microwave it for 30 seconds. Mix the chocolate, microwave for another 10 seconds. Spread the chocolate on a silicone baking mat. Let the chocolate set for about 15 minutes. Then scrape the chocolate with a frosting decorating spatula and form chocolate shavings.
I find it best to store the tiramisu for at least 4 hours so the amaretti cookies have time to soften and get all the flavors of the coffee blended in the mascarpone filling.
These are my mini trifle bowls. I love these glasses. They're perfect for two people to share, or one piggy :)
Published By: on March 22, 2009.
This shot is with the brandy glasses.