Tiramisu to Wow!

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A Home-Reared Chef!
Cook by Instinct, Recipe #23!

My oldest (married) daughter requested that this year, 2009, the family come to her home for Christmas Eve dinner—eve of the 24th. She also requested I bring a dessert that would complement her Roast Turkey dinner. This would be the very first time she would host a Christmas dinner, so I wanted it to be special. But before I could decide on what to bring she asked if I could whip-up a Tiramisu. Stunned at the request, I smiled and said sure! I could have thought of many other impressive desserts to make, but I decided to give her what she wanted. It is Christmas, after all.

I hate to admit this but I am one of those people that like Tiramisu and yet am not crazy about the coffee flavor. However I like this one; or perhaps I have acquired a taste for the traditional coffee flavor.

Julia Child, my sorely missed mentor and kitchen goddess, showed us the technique to prepare egg yolks for this type of custard that my husband and I use in this recipe. In Julia’s words, this method is “fool-proof.” Here we vouch that this is true.

My married daughter absolutely loves Tiramisu, as does my soon-to-be son-in-law who is of Italian heritage, and insists that it must be coffee flavor to be legit! So my husband and I created this recipe in honor of them. One taste and they both said “wow!” I now concede and agree; it is good! Naturally I had to run to jot down my ingredients and ratios while all was fresh in my brain. Here I share this most recent recipe with Divine Caroline.

Tiramisu to Wow!
Ingredients:
1/2 cup hot, strong brewed coffee (chocolate or caramel flavored preferred)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur (or other coffee liqueur)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese (or other), softened at room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla, divided
1 cup Cool Whip (or other)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (organic preferred), divided
3 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
35 sponge ladyfingers (about)
unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting) to preference of coverage

Directions:
1. Combine 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, coffee liqueur and Grand Marnier, 1 tablespoon sugar, and heavy cream, and stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Combine softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 tablespoon vanilla in a bowl; beat at high speed until well blended. Add the Cool Whip and gently fold until smooth and creamy, and then set aside.
3. Bring a 2-quart pot with water to almost boil, and immediately take off the burner. Combine egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl that will just fit over the pot of hot water—the bottom of the bowl touching the hot water—and whisk (constantly) until the eggs have thickened to form soft ribbons. Take off the heat and add the other 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla and stir until blended, and then set aside.
4. Using very clean and very dry beaters and bowl, beat egg whites at low-speed until heavy foam appears; add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and a pinch of salt and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.

NOTE:  Do not overbeat egg whites!

5. Gently fold the egg yolks into the cheese mixture. Stir 1/4 of the egg and cheese mixture into the whipped egg whites. Now add all of the eggs whites into the cheese and egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended.
6. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and arrange half of them in the bottom of an 9 by 13 dish, and drizzle half of coffee mixture over them. Spread half cheese mixture over this. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, remaining coffee mixture, and remaining cheese mixture.
7. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle cocoa powder over top and refrigerate for several hours before serving or even better left overnight.

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