Tiramisu Torte

Possible alternative titles for this post:

  • The Cake You Take to a Friend’s House
  • Who Needs Air Freshener When You Have This in the Oven
  • Pure Indulgence

Trying out a new recipe can be exciting and daunting. If your a slight perfectionist like myself, it leans more towards daunting because I get anxious if even a sprinkle looks out of place (food OCD). Wait a sec, I think the OCD extends past food. This evening, I asked my friend Shaabi to move her camera and lens from where it was on her book shelf… because they were bugging me where they were… because I was convinced a book was going to magically jump out and push them over. Luckily she’s the kindest, calmest soul I know. If the roles were reversed I may have “accidentally” hit the person  coming into my house and rearranging things across the head with a book, shoes, saucepan… (only joking, I have OCD. Not anger issues. Well, we’ll save those for another post maybe)

Back to the torte: it helps if the recipe you’re following is laid out well, and I have to say, my new Good Housekeeping Favouritie Cakes, Bakes and Cupcakes book does exactly that. They make the hardest recipe sound like a piece of cake (pun intended).

I made this torte to take to Shaabi’s house for a get-together with my girlfriends. Its the second tiramisu recipe on my site (my first ever post was a Classic Tiramisu recipe); I love coffee flavoured anything: cold coffee, Starbucks coffee, coffee cake, my morning coffee!

Tiramisu torte — ready to take to dinner at my friend’s house

I’ve adapted the recipe a bit, mainly omitting the alcohol and reducing certain quantities slightly. This dessert is served cold, so I would definitely advise making it when you have some time on your hands, because a) there’s quite a few steps to follow, though they are all easy peasy so don’t be put off, and b) it needs time to chill in the fridge. I made mine the night before.

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping) 
Serves 8-10

250g amaretti biscuits (I used these)
75g  butter
640g mascarpone/cream cheese (or a mix)
100g sugar
3 medium eggs, seperated
25g plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
175g plain chocolate (with at least 50% cocoa solids)
1tbsp coffee
3tbsp hot water

There it is, the all-star cast.

So, first of all, prepare the base: throw the amaretti biscuits into your food processor and whiz until they constitute fine crumbs. If you’ve never used them before, these are basically almond-flavoured Italian biscuits. So tasty! Please don’t be tempted to substitute something like digestive biscuits here. Amaretti biscuits give so much more of a light and delicate texture.

Melt the butter separately in a bowl (just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds) and add that to the crumbs. Whiz once more so the butter and crumbs are well combined.

Now tip the crumbs inside a 9-inch spring-form tin that’s been greased, and press down evenly, bringing the crumbs up around the sides of the tin by about an 1 inch.

At this point, the original recipe says to let it chill in the fridge. But I baked it just for 3-4 minutes in the oven first, let it cool, and then let it chill in the fridge while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. I find this gives biscuit bases a softer texture.

Now, put the mascarpone into a bowl, and whisk well until it softens to a creamy texture. Note that you need 640g of mascarpone, but the largest size tub I found was 500g. So I also added a 140g mini tub of Philadelphia cream cheese.

Though mascarpone is a more expensive ingredient than cream cheese, it’s so delicious and well worth spending a little extra if this is a once-in-a-while dessert!

Add the egg yolks (separated from the whites–keep them, you’ll need them in a minute!) as well as the sugar. Now, grab another bowl and divide the mixture in half.

In one half, add the vanilla essence and flour, and set aside.

For the other bowl, you need to melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water.

A word about the choc: it needs to have at least 50% cocoa solids. So that’s either really good quality baking milk chocolate, or (in my case) medium quality dark chocolate. Just check the ingredients to see the percentage of cocoa solid in it before you buy.

While that’s melting, dissolve 1tbsp of instant coffee in 3tbsp of hot water. Then, stir that into the melted chocolate and add it all to the remaining half of the cheese mixture. Work quickly or the chocolate will start to harden again!

Now, go back to those egg white you set aside. Using a clean bowl, whisk them till soft peaks form. Then put half into each of the two bowls of cheese mix.

At this point, or a little before, preheat your oven to 170 degrees (338 Fahrenheit). Now, alternately  pour the mixtures over the biscuit base (one spoonful at a time). No need to mix as you go along; just pour it all in and when you’re done, take a knife and gently swirl the mixture to create a lovely marbled effect.

Ready for the oven

Bake for approximately 40 mins. Please bake yours covered with foil on top! I didn’t do so and it browned too quickly 😦 This didn’t affect how it tasted at all, but the presentation suffered.

When done, the torte will still be soft-ish in the middle. Just leave the oven door open and let it cool inside. When completely cool, pop it in the fridge for as long as possible (I left mine overnight).

Ta da!

Verdict: a very soft textured cake, firmer than a mousse and richer than a regular cheesecake. The coffee flavour is very subtle and not at all overpowering as it sometimes can be in a tiramisu. Well worth all the effort. Try it!

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