Pistachio Tiramisu Cake
I’m having an unlucky week. I have been waiting for it to end since it started. From terrible backaches that don’t go away, to yet another annoying virus, to a non-stop leak from the ceiling and to electrical appliances that die out on you in the middle of a cold and stormy day. But here comes the redemption at last. The sun is shining and the weekend is here. In a little while I’ll be on my way to my family in Jaffa. I’m going to carry this tiramisu cake with me to celebrate my little brother’s birthday. Apparently, he really likes pistachios, just like his big brother. I guess the pistachio doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Ever since Oren came to me and prepared his wonderful tiramisu, I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to recreate his dessert in cake form. When the opportunity finally came, I immediately entered the kitchen and started working on it (well, with some breaks here and there, my back wasn’t functioning properly). From a smile tasting cake leftovers to a shudder from another jolt in my back, I managed to make a tiramisu cake. A tasty one too, but not at all stable.
Unfortunately, only after I published this post I found out that the cake is not stable. I removed the post immediately. Throughout the following week I worked on the recipe until I got the perfect tiramisu cake. You can see for yourself how stable the cake is in the picture below where I slice it. Also, in this specific recipe I used large eggs, it’s just what I had in the fridge at the time. If you have medium eggs, you may use the recipe from the last post as reference.
4 large egg whites (160 g)
180 g sugar
4 large egg yolks (80 g)
1 tsp vanilla paste
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
180 g flour
50 g white chocolate
200 ml espresso (two lungos)
100 g sugar
13 g gelatin powder
65 g water
Mascarpone/ pistachio cream
7 large egg yolks (140 g)
120 g sugar
2 pinches of salt
100 g Marsala wine or brandy (or half-half)
500 g mascarpone cheese at room temperature
400 g heavy cream
70-100 g pistachio paste (according to your taste)
70 g gelatin mass
80 g mascarpone cheese
25 g powdered sugar
45 g condensed milk
½ tsp vanilla paste
160 g heavy cream
30 g pistachios
A bit of cocoa powder
A round ring, 22 cm in diameter (at least 6 cm high)
A pastry bag fitted with a smooth 1 cm tip
A pastry bag fitted with a smooth 1.5 cm tip
An acetate strip, 10 cm high
Round cookie cutters
Sprinkle gelatin powder over the water, mix well and keep in the fridge for at least half an hour. Before use, weigh the amount needed and cut into small pieces.
Put egg whites and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Heat on a double boiler while whisking all along until you get to a temperature of 50 °C (120 °F). Transfer the mixture into the mixer bowl. Whip on medium-high speed, about 10 minutes, until the mixture is pale and thick, firm but supple (ribbon stage). Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
In the meantime, mix egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Add the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk them together. Fold in flour using a whisk just until uniform. Fit a pastry bag with a smooth 1cm tip and fill it with the mixture.
Line two baking sheets with parchment papers. Pipe a circle in a spiral form on one of the baking sheets. Make sure to pipe it a little bigger than the ring (about 23 cm). Pour the rest of the batter in the center of the second baking sheet. Using a large spatula, spread the batter all over the second sheet to a thickness of about 1 cm.
Pipe a little bit of the batter at each corner of the baking sheets to glue the parchment papers on top of them. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets to release air bubbles and place them in the oven.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a minute or two. Place the ring on the round biscotti (on the first baking sheet) and push it downwards just a little. Go around the outer perimeter with a serrated knife and cut away the excess biscotti to get a circle the size of the ring.
Using cookie cutters, cut out circles from the biscotti on the second baking sheet (in various sizes, from 3 to 6 cm). Try to use the most out of the biscotti and cut out very close circles. You may sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar over the biscotti for a smooth, less sticky cut.
Lower the oven temperature to 140 °C (285 °F). Return the baking sheets back to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes more until browned and dry. Cool at room temperature. Turn the round biscotti over and remove the baking paper. Release the round pieces of the second biscotti and keep aside.
Break the chocolate into pieces and put it in a bowl. Melt the chocolate on a double boiler while mixing all along. Using a brush, spread a thin layer of melted chocolate on the round biscotti that is going to be used as a base. Let the chocolate set at room temperature (or in the fridge if it’s too hot).
Prepare a long espresso (If you got a Nespresso machine, prepare two lungos). Pour the espresso into a bowl. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool at room temperature.
Mascarpone / pistachio cream
Zabaione: Put egg yolks, sugar, salt and wine/brandy in a (large) stainless steel bowl. Mix well. Heat on a double boiler (medium heat) while whisking all along to dissolve the sugar and to thicken the mixture. Once the temperature reaches 60 °C (140 °F), lower the flame and keep whisking for about 6 to 10 minutes till the mixture is thick and pale. This will also pasteurize the eggs along the way. Make sure that the temperature doesn’t go above 75°C (165°F) while heating (I just turn the flame on and off accordingly and keep the temperature between 60 °C /140 °F to 75°C /165°F). Remove from heat.
Melt the gelatin mass on a double boiler right away. Add the melted gelatin mass to the zabaione and mix well. Add the mascarpone as well and mix until uniform.
Divide the mixture evenly into 2 bowls. Add pistachio paste to one of the bowls and mix well. If needed, let it cool slightly. (The temperature should drop to 35 °C / 95 °F before adding the heavy cream).
Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks (be careful not to over whip). Add half of the whipped cream to the white mixture. Add the other half of the cream to the green mixture. Fold each mixture separately.
Putting it together!
Place the chocolate coated biscotti on a serving plate. Place the ring around the biscotti, with an acetate strip in between. Using a brush, soak the biscotti with a little bit of coffee syrup (I’m not sure if it does play a role here, but Oren insisted).
Pour the green cream into the ring. Give it a little shake to flatten the surface. Dip a piece of biscotti in the coffee syrup for a few seconds on each side. Let the excess coffee drizzle back into the bowl. Place the soaked biscotti on top of the green cream layer. Push it down just a bit. Repeat the process of the rest of the biscotti pieces. Arrange them in one layer (from the rim inwards) on top of the green cream.
Pour the white cream into the ring. Give it a little shake to flatten the surface. Keep it in the freezer for at least two hours (and even more – It’s easier to remove the acetate strip without affecting the form of the cake when it’s frozen solid).
Put mascarpone cream, condensed milk, powdered sugar in the mixer bowl and whip well. The mixer won’t be able to bring it to a complete creamy texture. It will still be a little lumpy. To cream it, mix with a spatula and squash the lumps on the side of the mixer until uniform.
Add heavy cream and vanilla to the mixer bowl. Keep whipping until the mixture is smooth and firm. (Be careful not to over whip). Scrape the sides of the bowl now and then. Transfer the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a 1.5 cm smooth piping tip.
Remove the cake from the freezer. Release the cake from the ring and remove the acetate strip. Pipe little mounds of frosting on top of the tiramisu cake, from the edge inwards.
In a food processor, ground the pistachios to a powder. Using a sieve, sprinkle pistachio powder over the cake. Keep in the fridge and let the cake thaw for at least two hours (and even overnight, the cake gets tastier the day after). Before serving, sprinkle cocoa powder on each slice to complete the dessert. Keep the tiramisu cake in the fridge for up to two-three days.Yum
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