Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Elaborate Pick-Me-Up

When I was younger, I intensely disliked tiramisu. I have a few theories behind this tiramisu scorn, the most reasonable being that the one time I tasted the rich Italian dessert, it was saturated in coffee and liquor. This is how it should be, of course, but those are two flavors I didn't develop a taste for until much later in life.

My anti-tiramisu feelings were so strong that I went for years without another taste, much to the chagrin of many friends and family members who were shocked to learn of my tiramisu troubles. Can you imagine? Twenty-seven years of life with only a single bite of tiramisu under my belt.

Until today.

And boy, was I missing out or what?

I'm in my second semester of culinary school, currently taking Advanced Pastry, and part of today's class was finishing our tiramisu tortes. They consisted of a thin bottom layer of chocolate cake, soaked in a Khalua simple syrup, covered with soaked pieces of ladyfingers, with the tiramisu filling spread on top. Whipped cream coated the torte, with chocolate-dipped ladyfingers lining the side, cinnamon and cocoa sprinkled on top and handmade coffee cup runouts to finish it all off.

Beautiful? You bet. Rich? Definitely. Delicious? No question.

I'm still not a huge liquor fan, but coffee I can do. So naturally coffee-flavored liquors (Khalua, Bailey's Irish Cream) aren't bad, especially when it comes to baking. I knew I wanted to buy my tiramisu when I was about halfway through decorating (it was too pretty - oh and yes, we do have to purchase what we bake). But would I like it? I wasn't sure, but I was ready to try.

Prior to today, I don't know that I gave much thought to what was in tiramisu. I just knew I about retched the first time I tried it, so it was added to the do-not-eat list. But once we were making it in class, the above realization hit me - coffee and liquor? No wonder 10-year-old Kristen wasn't a fan.

It is awesome, and I'm so glad I brought home an entire cake so I can freeze the pieces and indulge for a longer period of time. The marscapone filling was fluffy and filling. The soaked ladyfingers added a nice texture, as did the slight crunch of the chocolate-dipped variety. The slight tang of the cinnamon was a perfect complement, and the coffee cup runouts on top? Just too adorable.

And you know what?

I love tiramisu.

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