Sunday, December 27, 2009

Buon Natale and tiramisu

Merry Christmas!  The past few days have been busy ones - lots of family and food.  The kickoff for Christmas, for us, is always our Christmas Eve Eve dinner with my best friend and her family.  They are family to us so we make sure to set aside the night of the 23rd to have dinner together.  It was our turn to host this year so in honor of my husband's last year and a half of Italian language study, we had a Buon Natale dinner.  The kitchen was far too hectic for taking pictures but I did get one of dessert since it was made a day ahead.

For starters we had Pecorino Romano with Apples and Fig Jam.  These were delicious.  I did cheat a bit on the fig jam and used a jar of Bonne Maman Fig preserves mixed with chopped toasted hazelnuts.  I'll definitely make these again.

Dinner was:
Pasta with vegetable bolognese
Spinach Salad with citrus vinaigrette
Roasted Fennel and baby carrots

I made the sauce ahead of time up to adding the mascarpone cheese and then reheated it before dinner.  For the salad we skipped the parmesan cups though I had made some for practice the day before and had all the ingredients.  The dressing was fantastic with lemons and oranges from our yard.  I loved the roasted fennel and carrots but cooked it longer and at a higher heat as I like my roasted veggies to get pretty well done and they weren't in the initial time specified.

Dessert was tiramisu.  I looked at so many recipes and of course most use eggs that aren't cooked.  I have confidence in the eggs that I buy but still...didn't want to give the gift of salmonella for Christmas!  So I found a recipe that cooks the eggs and sugar over a double boiler for about 10 minutes.  It was a tiny bit time consuming but simple as far as desserts go.  And it was delicious.

by Melissa Roberts and Maggie Ruggiero 
2 cups boiling-hot water
3 tablespoons instant-espresso powder  (*note - I just brewed several cups of espresso)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3 tablespoons Tia Maria (coffee liqueur) (*note - I didn't use this though I think it would have been good)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup dry Marsala (*note - I used dark rum)
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
Stir together water, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved, then cool.
Beat egg yolks, Marsala, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.
Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.
Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.
Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13- by 9- by 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan.
Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cocoa. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Let tiramisu stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving, then dust with more cocoa.

No comments: