Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Home Edition: Classy in Minutes

I feel like I am on a long-term journey through some rough terrain. I'm like a traveller carrying a huge sack of heavy objects through a world we call college. And in that huge sack are classes, the unlimited amount of work, the commitment to the organizations I am a member of, the constant search for internships, and now juggling all of that with a part-time job. And in that world, there can never be enough twists and turns and ridiculous obstacles to overcome. The one thing that isn't as prevalent anymore is free time. But oddly despite all of that, I absolutely love it! This is something many of us could easily relate to whether it was back in the day or even now. So my friend and I have been planning to create a "culinary masterpiece" for the longest time but finding time between our busy schedules to actually do it was pretty rare. Finally, on a rainy thursday evening, we had the opportunity so we got right to it! Here's our dirty twist on an Italian classic treat.
When you combine a packed schedule with the extreme desire to cook and eat, it only makes sense to find short-cuts. And I must include, short-cuts to cooking and baking does not necessarily mean sacrificing flavor, presentation, and a proud heart at the very least. We decided to make light and creamy tiramisu in minutes: quick, easy, cheap and if you really take the time, still potentially extravagant in aesthetics.
Dirty Tiramisu
Ingredients:
- Cups, glasses, shot glasses etc. (your choice depending on what occasion you are making this for)
- Pack of lady fingers
- Freshly brewed espresso and/or coffee
- Whipped cream (we used store-bought whipped cream, but you can definitely make it yourself)
- Brown sugar
- Classic cocoa powder
....and that is all she wrote.
Procedures
1.) First, brew a pot of fresh, earthy, and hot coffee or espresso and let it cool down afterwards
2.) Soak about 12-15 broken up pieces of lady fingers in the coffee/espresso for about a minute or two
3.) Add about 3-4 tablespoons of pure brown sugar into a bowl or container of whipped cream and mix until the brown sugar is evenly distributed throughout the whipped cream
4.) Now you can start to layer: start with the lady fingers soaked in coffee/espresso at the bottom of your containers then layer the whipped cream mixed with brown sugar on top. Alternate these two until you reach the top of the glass.
(Optional: you could also include a small dusting of cocoa powder to fulfill your chocoholic needs between layers as well but we decided not to.)
Note: If you really want to take your presentation to the next level and create clear, distinct layers, when you are layering the whipped cream, be extra careful that it does not touch the sides of the glass while you are spooning it in because that is what will make your layers more swirly and random.
5.) As a garnish, dust cocoa powder on top of the last layer of whipped cream and a last small dollop of whipped cream on top of that.
6.) Place your glasses into the refrigerator so they cool down a bit and everything comes together nicely.

The short ingredient list and the near lack of work may make people seem a bit skeptical about how good the tiramisu actually tastes. And if it does taste good, how much does it actually taste like a classic tiramisu? But I must say, if you judge your measurements right and experiment, it tastes absolutely delicious and it took less than ten minutes. The use of the brown sugar made the ordinary whipped cream taste a bit more butterscotch-like and combined with coffee--perfection! My friend and I decided to layer the tiramisu into wine glasses which proved to be a bit excessive for a pre-dinner treat. But let's say you are having a small get-together with some friends or maybe even a cocktail party. The ideal way to feed your guests are through small appetizers that are easy to just grab and eat in one bite rather than holding something huge in their hands. For a dessert platter, you could use this simple recipe and layer tiramisu into clear shot glasses or mini plastic cups. It is a small dessert that will not be too heavy on your guests and they would look absolutely cute on a white plate and still keep its class and elegance.

I think the one thing this confirmed for me is the fact that just because dishes have ingredients that are mostly store bought, ready to eat, and can be made in minutes, does not mean that you are sacrificing flavor or class at all. Authentic tiramisu is usually associated with high-end Italian restaurants but you could still have that luxury in the warmth of your own home. And trust me, eating that huge glass during a rainy evening was nothing short of being amazing.

I'm reading this post over again just to proofread and I feel like I sound almost like Sandra Lee from "Semi-Homemade". Her concept is actually a smart one because her dishes still embody the real tastes of a dish that had complete organic ingredients, but it is extremely useful for college students, mothers with children and busy schedules, and in the end, just perfect for anyone out there.
And also, just because you made something so extravagant and luscious in minutes, doesn't mean you have to tell everyone that right? 

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