Please Join Our Table
- Written by Karen Boughton
Cutline: Karen with Executive Chef, Chris Johnson. As I sat down to write this column I just happened to glance at the calendar and realize it was my wedding anniversary. I hate it when I am so busy in my day-to-day stuff that I forget to plan something really great for Phil, whether it is a special gift I know he had been wanting or needing or a favorite meal he has enjoyed over the years. I did order for him a new pair of binoculars, as we will soon be off on a cruise to celebrate! Look for my future column all about my dinner with the chef and a private tour of the galley! Since we are empty nesters if I make a full recipe of tiramisu, it is for a cocktail or dinner party. I sure dont want a large pan of leftover tiramisu sitting on the kitchen counter tempting me as I walk in and out of the kitchen all day. So I am sharing a recipe I got from Michael Anthonys Cucina Italiana Executive Chef Chris Johnson. I was lucky enough to catch a cooking class a couple weeks ago at this fabulous Italian restaurant and import specialties shop. I love the specialty shop where they sell wonderful imported cheeses, wines and meats as well as other unique Italian and European items. While chatting with owners, Tony and Becky Fazzini, they shared with me some interesting information about themselves and the restaurant. Michael Anthonys Cucina Italiana opened in January of 2002 and is now celebrating their 12th year in business. And, it has been recognized by Open Table diners as one of the Top 50 Italian restaurants in the United States! www.michael-anthonys.com/. Make their tiramisu with someone you love and if you want a small dish here is an easy recipe for tiramisu for two! It really is easier than it looks to make. So Please Join our Table and I will share a big piece of cake with you. Chef Chris Johnsons Tiramisu 1 quart heavy cream 1 and 1/2 cups sugar 6 egg yolks cup mascarpone cheese 36-40 ladyfingers 8 cups cold coffee in a medium bowl cup rum Cocoa powder 10x12x2 inch casserole dish or individual serving dishes DIRECTIONS: Whip heavy cream and a half cup of the sugar together in a mixer until firm peaks form. Remove and place in a large mixing bowl, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix egg yolks, one cup of sugar and the rum together and beat for approximately four minutes or until thick and creamy. Add mascarpone cheese and beat for one minute or until mixture is smooth. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the mascarpone mixture into the heavy cream until blended and smooth. One at a time quickly submerge each ladyfinger into the coffee and place on the bottom of the casserole dish (or if making individual servings, trim ladyfingers to fit into serving vessel). Continue to form one complete layer. Spread half of the cream mixture over the soaked ladyfingers until evenly covered. Arrange another layer of coffee-soaked ladyfingers over the cream, then spread remaining cream mixture evenly over top. For the casserole dish, place in freezer or fridge for 24 hours to set. Cut into squares and dust with the cocoa powder to create a rich dark topping. Individual servings can be refrigerated to chill for at least an hour before serving. Top with cocoa powder just before serving. Tiramisu for Two (Great recipe for your kids to make too!) 12 ladyfingers (Savoiardi) or you can use vanilla wafers 2 tablespoons hot water 1 package Starbucks VIA instant dark roast coffee 2 (4-ounce) packages prepared vanilla pudding (pudding snacks) or you can use instant pudding 1/4 cup thawed whipped topping 1 tablespoon rum 1 teaspoon cocoa powder DIRECTIONS: Place ladyfingers into two dessert dishes cutting to fit. In a small bowl, stir hot water into the Starbucks Via coffee granules; drizzle over wafers. Top each with contents of one pudding snack. In a small bowl gently fold rum into whipped topping. Spread evenly over the wafers and place in fridge. Chill for at least one hour. Before serving, dust with the cocoa powder and serve. Here is another great chocolate desert! P.S. Dear Karen, Heres the promised truffles recipe. (Its really a lot easier than it looks or sounds!) Debbie Norris Truffles au Cocolat (Makes 64 or more truffles) 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature 1/2 cup boiling water or freshly brewed espresso (you can also use other liqueurs such as Chambord, Kahlua, Amaretto, Grand Marnier or Cognac or try Irish whiskey or dark rum) 1/2-cup premium unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process) Special Equipment: 8 inch square pan Parchment paper Fine-mesh strainer Double boiler Instant-read thermometer DIRECTIONS: Line the bottom and sides of a baking pan with parchment paper (or foil). Set aside. Place the chocolate and butter in the top part of a double boiler with barely simmering water in the bottom part (or use a stainless-steel bowl). Melt over low heat, stirring frequently until the chocolate and butter are almost completely melted and smooth. Remove the top pan and stir to complete the melting. Set aside. Leave the heat under the skillet on low. Place the egg yolks in a small heatproof (preferably stainless-steel) bowl and stir in the boiling water or espresso. Place the bowl in the skillet and stir constantly with a heatproof spatula, sweeping the bottom of the bowl to prevent the eggs from scrambling, until the mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (You will have to remove the bowl from the skillet to take the temperature unless you are agile enough to stir, hold and read the thermometer at the same time.) Rinse the thermometer probe in the simmering water after each reading. If you add boiling water or espresso, this should take less than a minute. Note: If you are using another liqueur, heat it first before adding to the egg yolks since the cold liqueur will take too long to come to temperature and the eggs will cook. Pour the heated egg mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the chocolate. Stir gently (without whisking or beating) until completely blended and smooth. Pour into lined pan and spread evenly. Cover and chill until firm, at least two hours. Put the cocoa in a medium bowl. Remove the truffle pan from the refrigerator and use the liner to transfer the truffle sheet to a cutting board. Allow it to soften until you can cut it without it cracking; about 30 minutes if the mixture is very hard. Invert the sheet and peel off the liner. Cut the truffles into squares, one inch or smaller, and toss them in the bowl of cocoa powder. You can leave the truffles square or dust your hands with cocoa and roll them into balls. Store truffles tightly covered for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or freeze for up to three months. Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving to soften slightly.