Monday, April 18, 2011


Oh, Mark, how I underrated you. For years, I thought that Mark Bittman was only good at the savory, not so great with the sweet. So, now, I decided to make Tiramisu, which is most definitely not French. I did not want to go with a website on this one, so I reluctantly opened up my dear ol' Mark, and checked his index. He has a Tiramisu recipe. Alright, then. I am prepared to abandon him if I see Lady Fingers as the cakey part of his Tiramisu. Why? I don't know. I just knew I didn't want to do that for some reason. I guess I thought it would be some kind of a cop out or something. Anyhow, he tells me I can use lady fingers, but! But, he tells me I could also use leftover Sponge cake - at which point he tells me what page his Sponge cake is on. I flip to the sponge cake recipe, I have everything but the orange (or lemon). And guess what, besides the fact that I was out of eggs, I had all the stuff for Tiramisu, too. Seriously? Can it really be that easy? Are the ingredients of so famed a dessert really so commonplace? Yep. Really. Tiramisu is EASY. And delicious. And since the stuff in it is so common, it's crazy inexpensive. $5 a piece at the restaurant....nah, just make it at home. It is, however, time consuming, with all the chilling and cooling that needs to take place, so half your day is occupied with it - inactively, I should assure you. You can go for walks, take a rosary ride with an Italian ice at the end of it, and still have plenty of time to do it. Just make sure you start the sponge cake about 5 hours before you intend to eat dinner.  Now that I've given you the most lengthy intro ever, here we go.

Ingredients & Prices

Sponge Cake
How to Cook Everything, pg. 726

1 Cup Flour - $0.12
1/4 tsp Salt - $0.01
5 Eggs, separated - $0.68
1 Cup Sugar - $0.32
1 Orange-$0.48

Total Cost Sponge Cake (you use about 3/4 of it - the rest eat for b-fast tomorrow): $1.61

How to Cook Everything, pg. 663

1/2 Cup Sugar - $0.16
11/2 Tbsp Corn Starch - $0.05
Pinch Salt - $0.01
2 Cups Milk - $0.43
3 Eggs - $0.41
1 Tbsp Butter - $0.07
1 tsp Vanilla Extract - $0.10
2 Cups Sponge Cake - you have to make the whole thing, so $1.61
1 Cup Strong Cold Coffee - $0.60 (I used French Roast 8 O'Clock Coffee - pressed in the French Press)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder as Needed - About 2 Tbsp - $0.14


Make or Buy the Sponge Cake or Lady Fingers (which can be pricey).

Orange Zest & Freshly Squeezed Juice

I like to prep everything ahead, so zest that orange and separate those eggs. That way, if your kid wants to help, it's much less stressful. The zesting...that's fun. If all zesters are like mine, then most of it gets stuck on the zester, making for a fun time getting it off. You only use about half of the orange for the zest and the juice, and your four year old would love to eat the rest.

You have to beat the heck out of the yolks. Then add half of the sugar, then beat the heck out of it again. Then add the orange stuff.
Then you beat the heck out of the whites, add the rest of the sugar, and beat it some more. Lots of beating. Need to get rid of some aggression? Make a sponge cake! 

Then you get this pretty stuff. Bake it for almost an hour, according to Mark. It took about 35 minutes in my super hot gas oven. 

see the cute baby? way back there?
While it's baking, you can start the custard part of the Tiramisu, which needs to cool forever, too, so get that started.

Sugar, corn starch, milk, eggs, lots of whisking for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

pretty and SO not burnt YES!
Go for a short walk. (We did!) Then cover the custard (in a bowl, I think, though Mark doesn't say so) with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cool for an HOUR at least. 

Make the coffee, too, so you can stick it in the fridge. I forgot, so I iced my coffee. Bugger.

dancing four year old in the background 

Cut up the sponge cake and start layering. 


Cocoa Powder, 




Cocoa Powder, 


Cocoa Powder.

Chill for at least an hour to set.
It tastes even better Day 2!

Total Cost Tiramisu 4 Adults, 2 Kids, only half eaten (so enough for 8 adults, 4 kids): $3.58

At the local fancy Italian restaurant, one serving is $4.95. I'm just sayin.

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