I bought this wonderful cookbook, The Pastry Queen, a few months ago and fell in love with it when I first opened the cover. The photographs make your mouth water and the author writes cute passages at the beginning of each recipe. After weeks of flipping through pages debating what to make, I finally settled on a favorite of mine-tiramisu.
for the ladyfingers:
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting ladyfingers
7 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup plus 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup AP flour
for the soaking syrup:
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/8-1/4 cup dark rum
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
for the filling:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temp
2 cups sugar
1 (16 oz) tub mascarpone cheese, at room temp
1 Tablespoon boiling water
2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
Dark cocoa powder or grated bittersweet chocolate for dusting
To make the ladyfingers: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust with powdered sugar. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and the vanilla in a large bowl on high speed about 5 minutes, until the yolks become thick and pale yellow. In a separate clean, large bowl, use a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on high speed until stuff peaks form. Add the 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. Fold the egg white mixture gently into the egg yolk mixture. Use a sieve to sift the flour over the batter. Gently fold in the flour just until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the bater onto the prepared baking sheets, making each ladyfinger about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. You'll be able to fit about 5 ladyfingers across and 4 down on each sheet. Sift the 1/2 cup powdered sugar over the ladyfingers and bake about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes and use a spatula to transfer them to cooling racks.
To make the soaking syrup: Simmer the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan set over medium heat about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the espresso powder, liqueur, rum, and vanilla. Set aside to cool.
To make the filling: Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and sugar on high speed. Ad the mascarpone and beat on medium speed just until incorporated. Combine the boiling water and espresso powder in a small bowl. Stir 1/4 cup of the cooled soaking syrup and 1 Tablespoon of the espresso liquid in the filling. Spoon half of the cream cheese mixture in a medium bowl. Stir the remaining 1 Tablespoon of espresso liquid into the second bowl of cream cheese mixture. You will have 1 bowl of light brown cream cheese filling and one bowl of dark brown cream cheese filling.
Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Dip both sides of 1 ladyfinger in the cooled soaking syrup and place in the bottom of the pan. Repeat with more ladyfingers and syrup to line the whole pan. Spoon the light-colored cream cheese mixture evenly over the ladyfingers and smooth gently with a spatula. Cover with a second layer of dipped ladyfingers. Spoon on the dark-colored cream cheese mixture and smooth the top as before. (Leftover ladyfingers can be wrapped and frozen up to 1 month--if they last that long, I just ate my leftovers.) Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the top with a light coating of cocoa powder or sprinkle with grated bittersweet chocolate.
Cover the tiramisu and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold from the fridge.