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Combining the best of both worlds, this heavenly dinner time dessert by Paula from Enjoy Dessert has a rich brownie base layered with coffee soaked ladyfinger biscuits and fluffy mascarpone cream. Brownies have been on my baking list for more times than I care to remember and tiramisu is something I no longer need a recipe for, yet I have never paused to give a thought about how these two will pair up until they became famous on food blogs. The subtle coffee kick nicely offsets the intensity of dark chocolate and if you are patient enough to allow the brownie and tiramisu layers to meld together overnight, you will probably thank yourself [and me!] afterwards.

TIRAMISU BROWNIES

For the Brownie Layer

200g dark chocolate

150g unsalted butter

150g caster sugar

30g cocoa powder

3 large eggs, room temperature

50 ml whipping cream

1 teaspoon coffee

1 teaspoon amaretto

100g all purpose flour

Pinch of table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Tiramisu Layer

200g mascarpone

2 large eggs, separated

Pinch of table salt

60g caster sugar

80 ml strong coffee

10 ml rum, optional

1 teaspoon amaretto

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

20-25 ladyfinger biscuits

50g dark chocolate, melted

Method:

  • For the brownie, melt the chocolate along with butter over low heat in a thick bottomed saucepan.
  • When the mixture is homogeneous, remove it from heat, add sugar and cocoa and mix thoroughly.
  • Combine the all purpose flour with baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and set this aside.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and mix well after each addition. Then add cream.
  • Stir in amaretto and coffee. Carefully fold in flour mixture till no flour streaks remain. Do not over mix.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a 20×20 cm baking tray with parchment paper. Pour in batter.
  • Level the surface with a spatula and bake for 20 to 23 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
  • Remove cake from oven and let it cool in pan. Prepare coffee for soaking biscuits and leave to cool.
  • Add rum, amaretto and vanilla extract to cooled coffee. For the tiramisu layer, beat the mascarpone.
  • Beat egg yolks with sugar until they turn white in color and doubled in volume. Fold into mascarpone.
  • Beat egg whites with salt until stiff and carefully fold into mascarpone cream and chill for 30 minutes.
  • For the assembly, dip ladyfinger biscuits in coffee mixture and arrange neatly over the brownie layer.
  • Spoon mascarpone cream over biscuits, chill for few minutes. Melt dark chocolate over a bain marie.
  • Bring to room temperature so that it is still fluid. Drop teaspoons of the chocolate over mascarpone.
  • Run a knife lightly over cream to give marbled effect and return cake to refrigerator. Chill overnight.
  • Dust the tiramisu brownies with extra cocoa powder. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 20 servings.

Tiramisu Brownies

Just like everyone else, I also have a long list my tried and tested [and improved!] banana bread recipes but that does not stop me from tinkering with a new recipe whenever I have some ageing bananas around. While I am not adverse to nuts in my banana bread, I tend to sidestep walnuts in favor of pecans or hazelnuts. Similarly, instead of chocolate chips, I will invariably resort to chopped dark chocolate or even Nutella because they melt to form larger pockets of chocolaty goodness. This particular recipe is part of the Bon Appétit collection of baking essentials and gets its signature taste from the earthy tones of unrefined dark brown sugar. A liberal dose of mascarpone cheese helps to keep the texture moist without the batter turning dense or sticky which, I believe, can only be the hallmark of a ‘best’ banana bread.

BA’s BEST BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup mascarpone or Greek yogurt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

4 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 8 ½” x 4½” loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment.

  • Leave a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

  • Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the brown sugar, mascarpone, and butter in a bowl.

  • Beat till light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition.

  • Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

  • Add bananas and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate and walnuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

  • Smooth top and bake bread until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, for 60-65 minutes.

  • Transfer pan to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan 1 hour. Turn out bread and let it cool completely.

Bon Appetit’s Best Banana Bread

I really don’t know why I never shared the recipe for tiramisu on this blog. My irreplaceable favorite in a long list of desserts I am known to have a major faible for, the evergreen Italian classic holds a special place in my heart and on the menu card of many posh restaurants. Ordering tiramisu and getting it served takes all of 5 minutes as it is a great make-ahead dessert that keeps well frozen for days. Simply take it out 30 seconds before serving time, dust generously with good quality cocoa powder and top with a few Michel Cluizel chocolate covered coffee beans to impress. Tish Boyle‘s recipe does not need any messing around, follow everything verbatim and there is no reason why you will not start making your own tiramisu on a regular basis.

Originally from northern Italy, this trifle-like dessert is made by layering ladyfingers or similar sponge textured cake dipped in espresso syrup and creamy mascarpone filling. Some recipe use coffee liquors and some try to omit the use of raw eggs due to Salmonella concerns, so it may be safer to briefly cook the yolks over a bain marie first before folding them into the filling. Whatever technique you use for your biscuit and mascarpone layers, the end result should literally ‘lift you off your feet’, which loosely translates for the word tiramisu, a delight which truly lives up to its name.

TIRAMISU

For the Genoise

1 cup sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Espresso Syrup

1 cup hot espresso or strongly brewed coffee

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Mascarpone Cream

6 large egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) water

1 pound (454 g) mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons (45 ml) dark rum

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Assembly & Garnish

Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting

Chocolate-covered espresso beans

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar by hand. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water.

  • Cook until the eggs are warm. Transfer bowl to the electric mixer stand and attach the whisk attachment.

  • Beat on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume for about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low.

  • Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Resift 1/3 of flour mixture over the batter and gently fold it in.

  • In 2 more additions, sift in remaining flour mixture, folding gently. Place melted butter in a small bowl.

  • Scoop about 3/4 cup cake batter into the bowl and stir until blended. Fold this into the remaining batter.

  • Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched.

  • Cool the cakes in the pans set on wire racks for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the wire rack and cool.

  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the espresso and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

  • Stir in vanilla extract and set syrup aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and water.

  • Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water such that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

  • Continue to whisk constantly, until the mixture thickens and is hot to the touch, for about 7 to 8 minutes.

  • Immediately scrape the mixture into a cold bowl. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until completely cool.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using paddle attachment, beat mascarpone at medium speed till creamy.

  • Gradually beat in the cooled egg yolk mixture and the dark rum and mix until everything is well blended.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using whisk attachment, beat cream and vanilla till it forms soft peaks.

  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture. To assemble, cut out 12 rounds from cooled cakes.

  • Use a cookie cutter to fit the diameter of serving glasses. Arrange one round in the bottom of each glass.

  • Brush generously with espresso syrup. Top with layer of mascarpone cream and add another cake round.

  • Brush with more syrup. Fill the glass with more cream, smoothing the top. Repeat with remaining cake.

  • Dust the top of each tiramisu with sifted cocoa powder. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Tiramisu

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