Tiramisu

Tiramisu has always been one of those elusive desserts. A dessert that I could enjoy from afar but whose perceived difficulty kept me from attempting to make it myself. Thanks to a close Italian friend, for the past three years I have been graced with homemade tiramisu at least once a year. She visited me this past weekend and was sweet enough to share her secret recipe with me! We had a blast making it together and an even better time devouring our creation. To my surprise, tiramisu was actually extremely easy and quick to make. The entire cake was done in less than 30 minutes (minus overnight refrigeration). Try out my friend’s family recipe below and amaze your friends and family with your dessert prowess. But whatever you do, don’t let anyone know how quick and easy it really is to make! 🙂

IMG_2301


Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 24 savoiardi (lady fingers)
  • 1 lb 1 oz package of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 c strong expresso, cooled
  • 1/2 c bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Note: this can also be done by hand with a fork, but an electric mixer or an egg beater will *greatly* speed up the process. Be careful not to overbeat!
  2. IMG_2164

  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer or whisk beat egg yolks and sugar together until they become pale and creamy.
  4. IMG_2170

  5. Fold in mascarpone cheese into the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
  6. Next, fold in egg whites.
  7. IMG_2176

  8. In a baking dish deep and long enough to hold two layers of savoiardi (I used a 12 inch diameter glass pie dish), spread about 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture evenly along the bottom.
  9. Place the cooled expresso in a shallow bowl. One by one, quickly roll (no more than 5 seconds) each savoiardi in the coffee so that they soak up some of the expresso. Place the soaked savoiardi on top of the mascarpone layer, breaking in half if necessary to fit. Do this for 12 of the savoiardi.
  10. IMG_2179

  11. Spread another 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture over the savoiardi layer. Arrange another layer of soaked savoiardi and top with the remaining mascarpone mixture.
  12. IMG_2180

  13. Refrigerate overnight.
  14. Garnish top with bittersweet chocolate and enjoy. Buon appetito!
  15. IMG_2299
    *Note* Due to the use of raw eggs, tiramisu should always be refrigerated and consumed within 4 days.

** Raw Egg Warning **
I suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Advertisements

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Curry)

I used to despise eggplants. With their weird rubbery purple skin and unappetizingly bland looking fleshy innards, they were definitely not one of the most desirable vegetables to consume. However, while cooking for nearly 40 people at my co-op one day, someone requested that we use up all the remaining eggplants in the fridge before they spoiled. So, I dug out Ammi’s old recipe book (Manisha Kanani’s The New Indian Cooking Course) and tried the “Aubergine Curry” (aubergine being synonymous with eggplant). Not only was it a big hit with everyone at dinner that night, but it become my new (and only) favorite eggplant dish! I have made it so many times over the past three years that the page in my cookbook is well-stained and crumpled from overuse (as any good recipe should be). Check it out below and let me know what you think! 🙂

IMG_22482


Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp grond coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1 fresh coriander spring to garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wrap the eggplants individually in aluminum foil and bake in the oven for an hour or until soft. Remove, unwrap, and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 minutes until they begin to sputter.
  3. Add the spring onions, mushrooms, garlic and chili and fry for 5 minutes.
  4. IMG_2182

  5. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and salt and fry for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. IMG_2198

  8. Peel the skin off the eggplants, cut the flesh into small pieces, place in a small mixing bowl and mash roughly with a fork. You can also leave the skin on and instead cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon into a mixing bowl.
  9. IMG_2211

  10. Add the mashed eggplant and chopped fresh coriander to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  11. Garnish with a fresh coriander sprig. Serve with naan or chapati and enjoy!
  12. IMG_2245

Masoor Daal (Lentils)

Nothing can be more homey or comforting than a plate of masoor daal and rice. Although this is generally considered a simple dish only to really be cooked at home for one’s family, it ranks high on my list of comfort foods. And I must say, this quick dish most definitely brings comfort during these cold New England winters that I am still adjusting too. I have been working off a recipe from my Ammi (mother) for over three years now. Check out my own adapted version below.

IMG_2151


Ingredients

  • 2 c masoor (red) lentils (yellow split peas can also be a substitute)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger (or ginger paste)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tomatoes cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion

Directions

  1. Wash the lentils.
  2. IMG_2132

  3. In a pot, add lentils and enough water to cover the lentils. Cook covered until you see foam forming on the top. Drain off all the foam.
  4. IMG_2136

  5. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, turmeric, ginger, and tomatoes.  Cook covered until the tomatoes soften and the mixture looks creamy, stirring occasionally. About 30 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add water.
  6. IMG_2141

  7. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped onion and stir fry for about 3-5 mins.
  8. Add cumin seeds and garlic. Fry until onions are golden brown.
  9. Pour this mixture into the cooked daal.
  10. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with basmati rice and enjoy!