Not Your Mama’s Tiramisu

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu

If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes a while, you probably have heard me lament my extreme distaste for coffee. I just don’t like it. The flavor doesn’t appeal to me. If you get enough cream and sugar in the cup to make it somewhat palatable, you’re actually drinking sugar sludge and that’s not appealing either. Therefore, tiramisu has never been a favorite, in fact though I’ve tried many times, I’d rather pass. Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept of tiramisu, but in actuality? No…not so much! I mean come on! Creamy layers of soaked lady fingers, with a sprinkling of chocolate for fun? Divine…IF you leave out the coffee, because coffee! Blech!

A few years ago I stumbled across a recipe for a coffee free tiramisu and I was intrigued. As is often the case I intended to make it, and then got tied up in this crazy ride we call life, and never got around to it, because isn’t that how it always goes? A few months ago around Christmas I decided I was going to make some and set out to acquire lady fingers, only to find those buggers are harder than you would think to locate, so I got side tracked…again.

I finally decided to check Amazon, and wouldn’t you know it, lady fingers! Then as is par for the course, I got side tracked again. I even put them in my cart, and still forgot them. I finally got back to the whole idea this weekend.

When I had ordered the lady fingers, I actually looked at the recipe for the first time in years and wasn’t convinced it was what I wanted to do. It just wasn’t quite right. I did some research and found other coffeeless recipes, but they weren’t quite it either and in the grand tradition of kitchen experimentation I thought, “Screw it! I’m going rouge!” and what I ended up with is so good, whether you like coffee or not, you won’t miss it. I promise! And if you like chocolate this is definitely the dessert for you!

So here we have my coffee free tiramisu! It’s definitely not like your Mom would make, but that’s not a bad thing…at all! One day, I plan to experiment with a chocolate tea variety, but that is a story for another day. So sit back, relax, and let’s make a little tiramisu…and hold the coffee, please!

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ingredients

What You’ll Need to Soak the Lady Fingers:
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
1/4 cup of chocolate vodka or liqueur

Stir the ingredients together in a small pot. Heath through until sugar is melted.

Yes…you just made hot chocolate! 😉

Sit aside and let cool to room temperature.

What you’ll Need for the First Part of the Cream Layer:
4 egg yolks (Note: If you have a thing about raw eggs, this is not the recipe for you.)
1/4 cup of sugar

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a glass bowl and beat on medium/high for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and the air in the mixture makes it look bigger. It’ll be very creamy. Set aside.

What You’ll need for the Second Part of the Cream Layer:
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 – 8 ounce package of mascarpone, softened

Beat the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and beat until incorporated.

Now you’re going to mix the first part of the cream layer and the second part of the cream layer together.

Fold the second part in to the first egg mixture until incorporated:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Cream

Now comes the assembly.

Give an 8 X 8 inch dish a quick spray of non-stick spray, or if you want to go a little crazy, give it a rub with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with about a tablespoon of cocoa powder:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Cocoa

Next you will start making your lady finger layer. Take a lady finger and dip it in the cooled hot chocolate mixture, coating both sides and place in the your baking dish:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Starting Out

Repeat this process until the bottom of the dish is covered. You may have to break a few of the lady fingers to get them to fit toward the end:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for the Cream Layer

If you soak the lady fingers more than a few seconds they’ll disintegrate. I like to just give them a dip on one side, and then on the other.

Add 1/2 of the cream mixture and spread out over top of the soaked lady finger layer:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for the Second Layer

Then repeat with another layer of soaked lady fingers:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Second Layer

And then top with the remaining cream mixture:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for Chocolate Garnish

Now this is where you can have a bit of fun. You can shave chocolate over the top, drizzle it, or go a little nuts like I did, and place a dark chocolate ganache heart on top of each slice. It makes it easier to tell where you’ll slice it later too:

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Ready for the Fridge

And now comes the hard part. You need to place your tiramisu in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. You’ll want to cut right in, but trust me, sitting makes it better. The lady fingers become soft, the flavors meld and you end up with lovely, gorgeous layers!

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: Layers

I had some the next day for second breakfast. What? You didn’t know I was a Hobbit? 😉

Take a look at this forkful of goodness!

Not Your Mama's Tiramisu: A Bite

Even though it’s hard, you’ll be glad you waited! Now dig in and enjoy!

Notes: There are so many variations you could do with this. You could add 1/3 cup of cocoa in to the cream mixture for a more concentrated chocolate flavor. You could add in some salted caramel elements to give a bit of a twist. If you just wanted to, you could add in espresso in place of hot chocolate, but that would defeat the purpose as far as I’m concerned, now wouldn’t it! 😉

Bacon Cheese Curly Fries

Curly Cheese Fries

So lets talk sinful today shall we? And what could be more sinful than fried potatoes, melted cheese and bacon? Not much I dare say!

Cheese fries and Potato Skins are some of Jamison’s all time favorites so every one in a while, and in this case it was his birthday earlier this month, I pull out all the stops and make something along these lines. Usually it is more likely to be Potato Skins, but this time I wanted to try to make cheese fries since I never have and I have to say I was very pleased! These fries were just to die for! (Possibly quite literally given all that cholesterol! ;0) These are definitely a sometimes food, but oh what a happy sometimes that is!

What You’ll Need:
4-6 russet potatoes, cut into curls (Note: I have a machine that does the curly cuts that Jamison’s Mom left with me when they were here for Alexis’ birthday. If you don’t have the ability to make curly cuts then you can simply cut the potato into regular fry pieces and fry them that way.)
Seasoned salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded Colby or Cheddar (Note: I used Colby.)
4-6 pieces of bacon, chopped or crumbled
A fryer and oil for frying (Note: If you don’t have a fryer you can simply heat oil on the stove top in a deep pot with a thermometer.) Ranch and or sour cream for dipping (optional)

Preheat oil to 375 F.

First cut your potatoes and put them in a container so they are readily available:

Curly Cheese Fries: Curly Potatoes Ready to Fry

I like to use a glass bowl.

Once the oil is heated add the potatoes in small batches and fry until just soft and not browned:

Curly Cheese Fries: Ready for Second Fry

This is also known as parboiling. Remove from the oil and drain on a plate or platter that is lined with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Once all the potatoes are parboiled put them back in the fryer in small batches until they are browned. Remove them from the fryer and place on a plate or platter with a clean paper towel and let drain again. Sprinkle the fries with seasoned salt generously.

Once the are drained place them on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet:

Curly Cheese Fries: Ready to Top

Be sure to spread them out a bit.

Next top with shredded cheese and bacon:

Curly Cheese Fries: Ready for the Oven

Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 5-6 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Notes: You could do a mix of cheeses if you wanted. Monterrey Jack would be fabulous! As would some of the Mexican cheeses. You could also add some chopped scallions to them right before serving, but obviously that isn’t Jamison’s cup of tea.

Cheesecake Brownies

Cheesecake Brownie

Cheesecake and brownies…Who doesn’t like those? Why not combine the two and see what you come up with? This is it! These brownies are rich, decadent and oh so delicious! These most definitely are sometimes food, but oh what a sometimes food they are! In fact they were so good I kept a couple and sent the rest off to work with Jamison for a treat day this morning! They were just that tempting! 😉 Of course I haven’t sent anything for a treat day at Jamison’s office in a while, so this was the perfect excuse!

Cheesecake Brownies: Baked

Seriously these were heavenly, but they’d cause me to have to spend way too much time on the treadmill and in case you didn’t know I despise the treadmill even though I drag myself upon it anyway, but why have to drag myself upon it longer than I have to?!!?!? ;oP

What You’ll Need for the Brownie Layer:
2 sticks of butter
6 ounces of baking chocolate
2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl melt butter and baking chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Stir in sugar. (Note: It may be a little grainy one you add the sugar, but don’t worry.)

Stir in baking powder and vanilla and stir to incorporate into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and stir until well mixed. Next slowly stir in flour until completely incorporated.

Pour mixture into a 13 X 9 inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake Layer:
2- 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 eggs

Cheesecake Brownies: Ready to Swirl

In the bowl of your mixer mix together cream cheese, sugar and eggs until completely smooth. Drop cream cheese mixture by large dollops on top of the brownie mixture. With a spoon swirl cheesecake into the brownie mixture. (Don’t worry it’s not going to be pretty at this point. It blends more into a swirl once you bake.)

Cheesecake Brownies: Swirled and Ready to Bake

Bake for 30-40 minutes until edges are done and cheesecake center is set. (Note: It may still be a little wiggly. Don’t worry.) Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Cheesecake Brownie

Notes: As I mentioned these are very rich, so smaller is better. :o)

Veggie Corn Dogs

Veggie Corn Dogs

Corn dogs are definitely a fair food type of deal. As I’ve grown older I’ve also sort of grown away from your traditional hot dog and when I have a craving for something of that sort I usually go for a veggie dog. So when we decided to try corn dogs I immediately went for the veggie dogs and they turned out great! It was a blast from the past, all with a new spun twist.

What You’ll Need:
1 package of Jumbo Smart Dogs or some other soy/veggie dog equivalent
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
1/2-1 cup of buttermilk
1 egg
Corn starch
10 wooden sticks

Preheat oil to 340-350 F.

Cut hot dogs in half. (You’ll have to do this for most fryers in order for the corn dog to fit inside.) Place a stick in the end of each hot dog. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl mix together flour, sea salt, baking powder and sugar and stir until incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1 egg and stir to mix batter. The batter should be thick, but not gloppy. If it is too thick then add a bit more milk. Place mixed batter into a tall glass and set aside.

Place some corn starch on a plate and roll each hot dog in the corn starch to coat. After they are coated dip each hot dog down into the glass of batter and fry immediately, turning several times to ensure that it browns evenly. When they are golden brown they are done. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Serve with mustard and/or ketchup.

Veggie Corn Dogs

Notes: This would work with conventional hot dogs as well.