Cooking Lessons with Mum: Tiramisu

Mum's Tiramisu

My parents were away in Japan (lucky ducks) for about three weeks and have only just returned from recouping at the beach. It’s been lovely to hear all about the relaxing time they’ve been having while I’ve been at work, sort of. I am really glad they’ve had such a great holiday, but it did mean as a result my dad missed father’s day. Normally on Father’s Day we would do something special for him to show him how much we love him, but because he was away we sort of missed it. So my sister and I decided we could do a nice mid-week dinner for him as a belated Father’s Day celebration, just so he didn’t feel like he had missed out on anything, and to give him some love.

Mum's Tiramisu

But what to make? Well, my sister got right on a beautiful slow cooked lamb dish which was absolutely amazing. But for me, I decided that I could work on the course that I enjoy making the most: dessert, of course! And when it comes to dessert, I know the way to my dad’s heart. Although he will often have some berries and yogurt for dessert midweek, I know if he could have tiramisu every night he would. I am pretty sure it is his favourite dessert, as he’s always ordering it when we go out, and we will often share one together when we go to our local Italian restaurant. So not only was it a favourite of his, it brings fond memories back to me of enjoying food with dad, which was really nice.

Mum's Tiramisu

The benefit of having mum back is that she was around to teach me a thing or two about making the perfect tiramisu. I know there are a lot of ways to make this beautiful Italian dessert, and everyone prefers a different type. I know a lot of people enjoy a really cakey tiramisu that stands on its own and is full of biscuits and chocolate. My partner, who comes from an Italian family, loves his tiramisu with custard, which I myself am not the biggest fan of, but each to their own! My experience with tiramisu has come from the one my mum makes which is beautiful and creamy, and almost like a trifle. She uses this aged newspaper clipping for a mascarpone cream that she collected years ago, and then makes this into a tiramisu. It reminds me of special occasions when she would make it, and it was so delicious. We rarely make desserts at home, so I thought this might be a way to make the dinner extra special for my dad. So mum taught me the tips and tricks for making her perfect tiramisu, which meant that I ended up with the perfect dessert for my dad!

Mum's Tiramisu

This tiramisu recipe results in a trifle like dessert with a rich, beautiful mascarpone cream and flavours of brandy and Grand Marnier. These mix perfectly with real espresso soaked biscuits and chocolate shavings over the top. It’s a truly decadent dessert, perfectly Italian, and I think it’s everything anyone could want in a classic tiramisu. What’s more, not too difficult to make, and you easily make it ahead and pull it out when you are ready to eat. I love that you can whip it up quite quickly as you don’t even need to bake it, and the resulting dish is truly delicious.

Mum’s Tiramisu

Mum's Tiramisu

Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time No bake
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

·         250 grams of Mascarpone Cheese

·         4 eggs – separated

·         4 tablespoons of caster sugar

·         1/8 cup of Brandy

·         1/8 cup of Grand Marnier

·         About 1 cup of freshly brewed espresso coffee

·         1 packet of Savoiardi biscuits

·         Dark chocolate to shave over the top

Method

1.       In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer with the whisk attachment on high, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Make sure that there is no egg yolk or water in the egg whites as otherwise they will not whip up. Set aside.

2.       In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture goes light yellow and firm. This should take about 2 minutes.

3.       Mix in your Mascarpone to the egg yolk mixture. Use a fork to blend it together with the egg yolk mixture before beating to avoid wrecking your whisk. Once this has started to combine and the Mascarpone has softened, use your whisk to blend until smooth.

4.       Using a spatula, fold the Mascarpone mixture into the egg whites. Be careful not to overmix, and just make sure you lightly fold it until it has just combined. The egg whites should still be visible throughout the thick Mascarpone mix.

5.       Pour the Brandy and Grand Marnier into the mix and fold until combine. The mixture should be fluffy but combined completely.

6.       Place your espresso in a mixing bowl, and get out a trifle bowl or another bowl to serve the tiramisu in. Begin dipping the Savoirardi biscuits in the espresso to coat lightly on both sides. Once you have dipped quickly, shake each biscuit to ensure they are not too wet. Layer these across the bottom of the dish.

7.       Once you have your first layer of biscuits, pour some of the Mascarpone mixture over the biscuits. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the mixture across the biscuits.

8.       Repeat with another layer of biscuits, dipping in the espresso and layering over the Mascarpone. Then pour the remaining Mascarpone mixture onto the biscuits and level again. Add one more layer of espresso soaked biscuits over the top. You can add more layers if you want, it’s completely up to you.

9.       Shave dark chocolate over the top of the mixture to completely cover the tiramisu. Place in fridge to keep cool until serving.

Mum's Tiramisu

This tiramisu was the perfect dessert! It was soft and creamy, with just the right amount of espresso flavour and crunch from the biscuits. It’s a truly decadent dessert that would impress any dinner party guests or your family for a special occasion. Or, it is so easy that you could just whip it up anytime you felt like a delicious treat (I won’t judge!) It keeps pretty well in the fridge for a couple of days, but you want to try and eat it as quickly as possible as the biscuits will go soggy over time. I don’t think you will have much trouble finishing it off though; I could have easily eaten the whole bowl of this!

Mum's Tiramisu

My dad was so excited when I pulled the tiramisu out of the fridge after dinner. I don’t think he was expecting such decadent dessert midweek. He truly loves his tiramisu and so I served him a nice big bowl and he loved every bite. I was so glad that I made it for him because it made the dinner a little bit more special. I love that tiramisu is a relatively simple dish to make, but it seems so fancy and special. It’s a great go to dessert when you are a little short of time and want something truly delicious!

Mum's Tiramisu

Has anyone tried making tiramisu before? What is your version? I’d love to hear all the different types of tiramisus people love, because everyone has such different taste when it comes to this classic! I’m just so glad that now I can replicate my favourite one, thanks to my mum showing me the ropes!

Mum's Tiramisu

Until next time, happy baking!

Ella xx

Mum's Tiramisu

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Italian Chicken Skillet

Italian Chicken SkilletI’m always on the hunt for delicious weeknight dinner recipes. I find that although my expectation of cooking is that every night I will be able to whip up extravagant, time-intensive masterpieces, the reality is that when you work full time, you just don’t have the time! By the time I get home from work, I’m a. already hungry, and b. although I’ve set aside time in the day to plan a meal out, I never actually do this. I’ve found Pinterest to be good for this, and often when I come home trying to think of what to cook, this is where I will go first.

Enter this delicious chicken skillet. Its what I think might be a perfect weeknight meal. I mean, you only need one pan, you can chuck in virtually any vegetables you have, and within half an hour you have a delicious one pot, hearty dinner. It’s a perfect dinner for winter as it has the feel of a casserole, but is quick and easy. It’s also super healthy, so your body will love it too! I always try to cook healthy in the week so I can eat whatever I want on the weekends, does anyone else do that?

Italian Chicken Skillet

I do have to admit; with this one I did make a mistake. In my haste to get food underway, I started chopping up mushrooms and accidently cooked up shitake mushrooms with the dish instead of your regular brown/swiss mushrooms! It was a little strange having them in there, and it didn’t really work. But I have cooked this one before with regular mushrooms, and its really delicious! So there is my little confession to you valued readers. I can’t believe I did that, but hey, we all make hilarious mistakes in the kitchen sometimes. It’s part of the fun of cooking!

Italian Chicken Skillet

Adapted from The Wanderlust Kitchen

Italian Chicken Skillet

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300 grams of mushrooms, sliced (make sure you don’t use shitake like I mistakenly did!)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced finely
  • ½ cup of olives, preferably pitted
  • 1 (500g) can of diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnishing

Method

  1. Cut your chicken breasts into smaller chunks. I had about 6 portions from 2 breasts. Then season with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or pan over a medium heat. Once this has heated up, add the chicken and brown on each side. This should take 3 minutes on each.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add the remaining oil and garlic, onion, thyme and oregano. Cook until the onion starts to go clear.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes until they have begun to soften. Be sure to stir them to avoid any of the herbs sticking to the pan and burning.
  5. Add the celery and carrots to the pan, along with about a quarter of a cup of water, if the pan is looking a little dry. Cook for about 5 minutes on the medium heat, until the carrots have started to soften.
  6. Next, add the can of tomatoes, along with another quarter of a cup of water. Add the olives, and stir the mixture to ensure the tomato is mixed through. Get this to come to a slight simmer, about 2 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper to your taste.
  7. Place the chicken in the pan; ensuring it is covered by some of the tomato mixture. Cook the mixture on the stovetop covered by a lid until the chicken is cooked through completely, and the sauce is bubbling. This should take about 10-15 minutes, but ensure you check the chicken to see if it is done.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

And that’s really all you need to do. I love how simple this recipe is, as you can really just chuck everything in and make it your own, based on what is in your pantry. The first time I tried this recipe I went by the book, but I really felt like experimenting this time, and I think it paid off. Sometimes by taking a recipe you find and changing it up, you discover something equally if not more delicious (although perhaps some might prefer the original version). This recipe is one of those ones that is nice and simple, and you are unlikely to mess up as long as you stick to the basic sauce and herb combinations.

I really hope you all like this one! I’m trying not to cook too many sweet things for the blog, so hopefully you enjoy some more savoury, healthy dinner recipes! Let me know in the comments below if you would love to try this recipe, and how you might do a little spin on a simple Italian chicken skillet.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Ella xx