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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tiramisu with Grappa

After spending almost a week in Milan, I was able to check off my list of things to eat in situ: pizza, risotto, calamari, octopus, sardines, and gelato.  I didn't eat any pasta but I wasn't really trying to.  The pizza is ok but not better than what we can get here in France.  The gelato was amazing.  That texture is just to die for!  Octopus is usually served marinated in a salad or as a carpaccio, which is awesome.  The calamari was out of this world.. More on that in the next post.  What I didn't check off my list is tiramisu.  Between the olive oil tasting, the salume from different regions, and the Nocellara del Belice olives, I never found the opportunity to eat tiramisu in its mother country.  No problem.. I bought some grappa during my travels!  Since I've never made this dessert, I decided to include it in my Eataly dinner party.. Made the authentic way, with grappa.
Grappa is the distilled part of the grape leftovers after the juice is used to make wine.  It's kind of like eau de vie of grapes..
Yield 6 servings
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
pinch salt
1 packet vanilla sugar
100g (3.5oz) cane sugar
250g (8.8oz) mascarpone
approximately 24 biscuits cuillère (sponge lady fingers)
25cL (1 cup) expresso or strong coffee, cooled
3 cL (1 floz) grappa or marsala
dark chocolate shavings for garnish
1.  Beat the yolks with the sugar and mascarpone until homogenous.
2.  In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.. or as I like to say, make snow.
3.  Gently fold the snow into the mascarpone mixture.
4.  Prepare your assembly.  Mix the grappa and coffee together in a dish.  Dip each lady finger into the coffee grappa mixture.  Don't drown them.  Just a quick dip.
5.  Lay the dipped ladyfingers into your mould.  Tiramisu doesn't hold well, so use individual moulds if you want it to be pretty when served.
6.  Spoon the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.  It should cover them.
7.  Repeat until desired layering.  I made 3 layers, which was perfect and I reached the top of my mould.
8.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours for it to "set" in a similar way as mousse au chocolat.  During this time it will firm up.  It's actually better the next day.
Before serving, add some chocolate shavings or cocoa powder for garnish.

The texture was exactly what I was hoping for.  With desserts like this, you don't know until you serve if it worked or not.  The next day was even better because it was much much firmer.  I'd recommend doing this early in the morning for a dinner party or even doing it the night before for best results.  The grappa was a bit strong.  I didn't mind, but I might use only 1 cL next time.. just for the aroma.
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