I must tell you there are not many things I like better in this world than a party. It could be a dinner party, a cocktail party, a small intimate gathering with just a few friends, I am good with all of them. I like planning them, I like hosting them, I like going to them. A party is an excellent excuse to buy a new outfit (maybe something a little sparkly), get dressed up and enjoy the company of good friends. Our friends Kevin and Kristine had a lovely Christmas party this past weekend. Good wine, good food, some festive music, and great company were the trademark of the evening. I always feel that if I am willing to help out, people will be more willing to have parties in the future, so I volunteered to bring along a dessert. I made tiramisu, which I had never made before, and by all accounts, it came out pretty well. I felt a little guilty, because tiramisu is not a very difficult thing to make. In fact, it is more about the assembly than anything else. My sister sent me her recipe, and I looked at a few others in various cookbooks before I sort of made up my own. It involved only one actual bit of cooking. That was the cooking of egg yolks and sugar in a double boiler on the stove top. I even used instant espresso, since we are not coffee drinkers in my house, and I don't even own a coffee pot (when I have my own parties, I assign coffee to one of the guests, and they bring it in a lovely thermal carafe). It was rich, not too sweet, and had a little kick from the espresso and Kahlua. It is important to make it the night before so that the moisture seeps into the dry lady fingers, and all the flavors come together.
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 8 oz. containers mascarpone cheese
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups espresso (cold)
1/2 cup Kahlua
cocoa powder for dusting the top
dark chocolate curls for garnish
2 packages dry lady fingers
In the top of a double boiler, place the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk and bring up to temperature. Once the water in the bottom of the double boiler is boiling, reduce heat and whisk continuously for 10 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese and continue whisking until it is well incorporated. Let the mixture cool. In the meantime, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.
Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan. Quickly dip the lady fingers, one at a time, into the espresso, then place in the bottom of the pan. Line the pan entirely, then sprinkle the tops of the lady fingers with about half of the Kahlua. Spoon the cheese and whipped cream mixture over the lady fingers until covered entirely. Continue the procedure with the lady fingers, creating another layer, ending with the cheese and whipped cream mixture. Using a fine sifter, dust the top of the dessert with cocoa powder. Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls, and place on top of the tiramisu. Let sit overnight before serving.