Tag Archives: tiramisu

Today’s cake – classic tiramisu

Lots of people and restaurants claim to have ‘invented’ tiramisu, and who knows who is telling the truth.  What we do know is that it was an invention of the 60’s, along with audio cassettes, the beehive hairdo, and colour television.  Fast forward fifty odd years and we still predominantly use savoiardi, or lady finger biscuits, to make it but in the modern world there have been endless versions with berries, mango, yoghurt, and in the latest trend I’ve noticed in restaurants, “hot and cold tiramisu” (the last of which I recently had a delicious version of at Sarti in Melbourne).

The one below is classic in my mind.  My Mamma Rosa has always always made it with marsala, so that’s how I make it too. My cousin Concetta on the other hand uses Amaretto, and the method below is hers; Mamma Rosa has given me a couple of versions – one with a custard and cream (if you don’t like the thought of raw eggs, or are allergic, this is the way to go) and a ricotta one.  But whatever you use, like most Italian sweets, they are never complete without a splash of alcohol somewhere.  Tiramisu is great for a dinner party, because you can serve a crowd with it easily, but also you can make it the night before, or at least give it several hours before serving – many recipes say to leave it two or three hours, but I think you need at least twelve.

Once upon a time you could only get lady finger biscuits at Italian delis, but now the supermarkets stock them too. If you’re worried about the raw egg whites, use some cream instead. You can use a square, oval, or round dish, or you can even make it in individual glasses. So easy and so good!

Ingredients
6 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
250 ml espresso coffee, chilled
150 ml marsala (or other preferred alcohol)
500g mascarpone
1 400g pack Saviordi biscuits
Cocoa or grated chocolate, for topping

Making it
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until thick and pale. Add the mascarpone, and beat till combined
2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the yolk and mascarpone mixture
3. Combine the marsala and coffee in a small flat dish of a suitable size for dunking the savoiardi. Put each biscuit in the liquid mixture just for a few seconds so that only half the biscuit is dunked (if you put it in too long it will collapse). Place the biscuit in your serving dish with the “undunked” side on the bottom. Repeat until you have covered your serving dish.  You may need to cut your biscuits in order for the dish to be covered.

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4. Cover the layer of biscuits with half the mascarpone mixture. Then do another layer of dunked biscuits, then the other half of the cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You could also do it in individually served glasses or bowls.

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5. Just before serving, dust with the cocoa or grated chocolate.

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Quattro Paste, Balmain

This tiny Italian 40 seater is in the quieter part of Balmain, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms by the friendly staff who’ll kiss your babies and squeeze your cheeks. The menu, like the restaurant, is compact and not overly fussy, and what you’d expect to find at a neighbourhood trattoria in Italy, with a blackboard sketching out a few extras.

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We start with some stuffed zucchini.  I’ve downed a good few of these in my time, but I’ve never had a creamy potato and eggplant filling, and it’s delicious.  The four are great value at $15.
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This is followed by a fritto misto, mostly calamari and a few prawns.  The calamari is a little chewy but the flavour is good.
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Then onto our pasta choices for the night.  I loved the terracotta dishes they served them all in. First is the tagliatelle with ragu.  The tagliatelle have great consistency and are well cooked. I had high hopes for the ragu sauce, but it lacked the depth and flavour of say Sopra, Gatto Matto or A Tavola.  A good smattering of parmesan helped.

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Gnocchi (with the same ragu sauce) – again the gnocchi are excellent little pillows with good consistency. Certainly this Tuscan mob know how to make pasta.
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Ravioli with Burrata.  This dish was unfortunately a let down. First the serve was very small compared to the other dishes.  The amount of burrata inside was also very small and hard to taste, and the sauce was very salty.

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And finally a mushroom risotto  – well flavoured and an easy eat.

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Then onto the sweets.  I have to give the tiramisu a whirl and out comes a big bowl and our waitress scoops out a generous spoon.  And its an absolute knock out, pretty much up there with my Mamma Rosa’s.  I was tempted to ask the waitress to leave the whole bowl!

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We also tried the chocolate and pear cake.  This was very very dry, you really needed to mix it with the gelato.  The vanilla gelato seemed to have a hint of lemon or something, and was delicious.

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It is reasonably priced, you can eat here for $40-45, and there is a selection of Italian wines by the glass or carafe. Its not quite the suburban Italian gem, but has a lot of potential.

Quattro Paste, 85 Reynolds St, Balmain, Ph 02 9810 9125
http://www.quattropaste.com.au/

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