Tuesday, June 18, 2013


A cool, creamy, lightly coffee flavored Italian dessert.

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules mixed with 1/2 cup of warm water OR 1/2 cup strong coffee/espresso
30 Ladyfingers (enough to make two layers in the dish of your choosing)*
15 Amaretti cookies (or any crisp cookie with hazelnuts, almonds, etc.)
fine chocolate of your choice for garnish OR cocoa powder

Place about 1.5 inches of water in a sauce pan over medium heat.  On top of this place a microwaveable glass bowl.  The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water in the pan.  To this, add your egg yolks and sugar and slowly whisk.  Once the bowl heats up and starts steaming you will need to continually whisk the eggs to keep them from scrambling.  Whisk for about 15 minutes - the eggs will triple in volume, and form a thick yellow custard.  You will know the eggs are done when it becomes difficult to whisk.   Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool.

When it becomes cool, beat in the soft (room temperature) cream cheese using a hand held mixer.  The mixture should be smooth and free of lumps.  Place in the refrigerator.

Place the whipping cream in a stainless steel metal bowl, and using a hand held mixer, beat on high until the whipping cream becomes light and frothy.  And in a tablespoon of sugar and continue beating for a couple minutes.  Add 1 more tablespoon of sugar and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the last tablespoon of sugar and beat until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks. 

Remove the egg/cream cheese mixture from the refrigerator and gently fold in the whipped cream just until combined.**

Set out your desired serving dish (i.e. I used my 11 cup oblong Pyrex, an 8inch by 10inch - but you can use any glass dish, trifle dish, etc.  Adjust your the layers in your dessert accordingly.).  Well coat the amarettti cookies in the coffee, then place on the bottom of the dish - repeat until there is a complete layer on the bottom.  Add a third of your cream mixture to the top of this and spread evenly. Dip ladyfingers in coffee and then layer across the cream mixture.  Add the next third of the cream mixture in an even layer across the ladyfingers.  Add another layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers, and the last of your cream mixture.  Last, grate the chocolate over the top of the cream OR lightly dust with cocoa powder.

Chill for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours. 

*I found ladyfingers in the Asian grocery store, of all places

**To make a delicious Italian custard/pudding, zabaglione, make the egg yolks as stated above.  SKIP the cream cheese step, and pour the warm custard over fresh berries, sliced peaches, etc.  Or for another variation, cool the custard in the refrigerator.  When it is cold, fold in the whipped cream.  Serve with assorted fresh berries, fresh sliced peaches, etc.

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