*Um, who doesn’t? … For real? I think you’re fooling yourself; everyone likes sweet things.
I made tiramisu yesterday.**
The details of that sentence were a lot more complicated than it may originally sound.
It all started with a pack of ladyfingers. Simple enough. I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed them by themselves, but I inevitably think of tiramisu when I see ladyfingers. And still stuck in my ‘I-need-to-bake-or-cook-or-someone-might-die’ phase, I bought the package.
After that, it got quite a bit harder.
Recipe? Who needs a recipe? And who knew there was whipped cream in tiramisu?†
First I started looking for the cheese. Mascarpone, to be exact. But cheese, even just plain cheddar, isn’t exactly easy to find in these parts. I began to despair that I would ever find even the primary ingredient I needed to complete my self-assigned task.
I should probably mention that I started this project in mid-July. It’s the end of September, yes.
Finally, someone mentioned a store that sold mascarpone in bulk. Yay! At least I had an idea of where to look.
Whipped cream? Another hard one. How do you turn fresh milk into cream? And is it possible in your own home without tools?††
Cocoa powder. That ended up being the second ingredient I found – a huge pack of it in a small bakery that occasionally sells baking items. I think I could make another 30 pans of tiramisu with the amount of cocoa I have.
Coffee and espresso – two different ingredients, I must say for those who don’t drink coffee.‡ Coffee – I just bought canned coffee, which is probably a different thing altogether, but by month #2, I just didn’t care.
We finally made it out to the store that does indeed have mascarpone, and also whipping cream (unlike America, this product is actually cream. Un-whipped cream. Just to clarify).
With almost all my ingredients in hand last Sunday, I was determined to make my amateur masterpiece this week.
All I had left to find was espresso.‡‡
And yesterday as I walked around chatting with a friend, she asked me, “Is that coffee shop any good?”
The clouds parted (not really), and I obtained my double espresso. For quite a buck, but hey, I was committed to finishing it!
For two and a half month’s trouble, the actual process of making it was simple (except for realizing that whipping the cream by hand would take a long, long time and it was already past the girls’ bedtime). In thirty minutes I was done, and putting it away in the fridge for the morrow.
It’s not perfect, but for a first try I’m satisfied. And I doubt I’ll do it again until I’m back in America. It was just too much trouble and way too much expense.
And I’m so tired by this week that I’m contemplating eating the rest of it in one sitting alongside some leftover fish stew. Sounds appetizing, right? Ugh.
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**It’s as messy as it looks in the picture. I’m not certain, but I think you really do need a sifter to get the cocoa powder on; in trying to cover the mascarpone using a spoon, I overdid it with the cocoa.
†If you did, then you can keep your mouth shut. I never claimed to have a chef’s palate.
††I’m still not sure how to do it from milk, but I did whip my own cream!
‡Like me, for example. But I enjoy coffee-flavored deserts.
‡‡Besides the fact that we don’t drink coffee and not many people here drink coffee, we don’t own a coffee pot. And all the Americans I know here don’t make coffee either. “Can you boil it on the stove?” someone asked. “But what about the coffee grinds?” I asked back. “Oh yeah. I guess not.”