Monster 8 Texture Tiramisu and the Holidays

Happy post-holidays! Hope it was fantastic! This time of year is for everyone. The origins are religious but for the rest, it's turned into a strange hybrid of Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving. You're giving gifts to people you love because the calender tells you so and there's food. It's an excuse to gather, eat, appreciate one another, and feel loved. It is a positive message about love and doing good. I see no evil in that other than commercialism, but let's not start

In our culture, the focus is a Christmas Eve filled with food and stories. As usual, Olga went ALL OUT. When I cook to express love, it's cute cupcakes and a hug. Not this lady- she makes a huge spread of food and if you say in passing 'oh I love eating flamingo eggs' she will leave the house, FIND YOU that flamingo egg, plus the flamingo- and cook it for you in every way possible. Just because you said you liked it. I am not exaggerating.

The traditional meal includes boiled codfish, potatoes, eggs, and grilhos (I don't know the English name) served with olive oil and vinegar. We also had shrimp pockets, octopus, and paella. There is no red meat on Christmas Eve, sorry ocean.

Dessert is oldies but goodies. There was Bolo Rei (King's Cake- I think the French got this too), felhozes (squash), cheese, wine, pastries, and so forth. The uncle from Jersey brought nom noms from my favorite bakery, Riviera. Rejoice!

My contribution was a Monster Tiramisu my younger brother sent in passing from Almost Bourdain. I took it as a challenge. It has 8 delicious textures. I kept using different spoons as an excuse to sneak licks along the way. My favorite is the combination filling of vanilla pasty cream, zabaglione, marscapone cheese, and whipped cream. The super cool thing about this is the middle is hollow and pour warm ganache to reveal the magic! I filled the center with ferrero rocher candies.

Yes. This is time consuming if you don't plan a night ahead. Several components can be made the day before. If you value your time, do that or you'll be waiting hours for it to chill. This includes: the Zabaglione, vanilla pastry filling, hot chocolate ganache, and the chocolate disc (see note on chocolate disc vs ganache bellow). The most time consuming part should be putting the lady fingers together- SUPER EASY!
Honestly, this is not a difficult cake to make. I made some modifications for the sake of time and resources. I had to change the Hazelnut paste because my food processor was not big enough. I also bought my marscapone cheese. Follow the original recipe if you're that hardcore- I had to wrap presents damn it.

Note: The only problem I found in this recipe is the chocolate disc as the top. If you don't serve this at room temperature- good effing luck cutting it much less serving it. MAKE THE DISC AS THIN AS POSSIBLE. The ganache just chills on top and I had to poke it with a tooth pick to commence the magic. This is what initially happened:

My suggestion is to level the top and use this ganache instead. You can make your first layer- let it set, then smooth it over beautifully with the second layer. To keep the hollow effect in tact- make a thin, small chocolate disc just for that area and hide it with the ganache. Best of all worlds, you're just gonna melt the thing anyways!

It's a warm, delicious mess. Serve with coffee. Enjoy!

Eight Texture Tiramisu 

Modified from the Almost Bourdain 

The 8 Elements 

1. At least 36 Savoiardi Sponge fingers/lady fingers (outer layer) 
2. Rum and espresso soaked sponge fingers (inner layers) 
3. Mascarpone cream (Zabaglione, Vanilla Cream, Marscopone Cheese, and Whipping Cream combined) 
4. Finely grated chocolate 
5. Hazelnuts and Caramel 
6. Center yumminess (I used candy, the recipe recommends caramel coated hazelnuts) 
7. Chocolate disc 
8. Hot chocolate ganache for pouring 


Make the above listed 8 elements (see recipes below). Line spring form pan with lady fingers, tips cut off to make flat.
Line bottom with the rum/espresso soaked lady fingers. Only soak them for a moment- you don't want them soggy.
Place food ring in the center. Add half of the the finely grated chocolate, half of the hazelnuts, and thinly drizzle on half of the caramel. Top with half of the Marscapone Cream and line with a few more rum/espresso soaked lady fingers.

Repeat! Add the rest of the chocolate, hazelnuts, and caramel top with the rest of the Marscapone Cream recipe. Chill in the fridge to settle for a few hours or overnight then remove the cup/food ring.
I filled the center with some ferrero rocher candies. Place the disc carefully top.
When it is go time... pour that delicious ganache mess on top! If you did the disc, for the love of God make sure it's room temperature so it can cut properly.

Equipment 20cm springform pan 6.5cm food ring (I improvised with a straight cup) 18cm round shaped hard plastic for molding the chocolate disc or round baking pan lined with parchment paper (if you're making the chocolate disc over ganache) 

Chocolate Disc 

Melt 100g of dark chocolate and pour into 18cm round mold or parchment lined baking tin. Let harden in fridge/freezer. MAKE IT AS THIN AS POSSIBLE. 

Finely Grated Chocolate

100g chocolate- finely grated and set to side 

Mascarpone Cream Recipe

This is 4 elements combined: 
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese 
Zabaglione (Recipe follows) 
Vanilla pastry cream (Recipe follows) 
Whipped cream (Recipe follows) 

In a large bowl, mix mascarpone cheese with the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside. 

Zabaglione Recipe

2 large egg yolks 
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms 
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee) 
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 

Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water. In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency. Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled. 

Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe

1/4 cup/55gms sugar 
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract 
1 large egg yolk 
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk 

 Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth. Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.) Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled. 

Whipped Cream Recipe

1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream 
1/4 cup/55gms sugar 
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside. 

Hazelnuts & Caramel

1/2 cup (70 g) hazelnuts 
Tiny pinch of kosher salt 
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar 

 Spread out the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until they're warmed through and aromatic. Remove from the oven and let cool. Put the hazelnuts into a food processor or blender, add a pinch of salt. Blend till fine. Set aside. Put the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Leave it alone and let it start to caramelize around the edges of the pan before you begin to stir it with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon. Patiently and attentively shepherd the sugar into a state of delicious caramelization: stir it slowly and constantly, until it's medium amber - like the color of Grade B maple syrup - and is very fluid. You will need to use this immediately! 

Rum and Espresso Mixture Recipe

2 cups/470ml brewed espresso or super strong coffee, warmed 
1 teaspoon/5ml rum (optional) 
1/2 cup/110gms sugar

Mix together the brewed warm espresso, rum and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool. 

Hot Chocolate Ganache Recipe
makes about 2/3 cups 

125 g good-quality dark chocolate, cut into small chunks 
65 g unsalted butter, cut into chunks 
25 ml water 

Put the chocolate, butter and water into a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Let the chocolate and butter melt, stirring the mixture frequently, until the ganache is smooth. The most important thing to keep in mind when you're making ganache is that it mustn't get too hot and boil; if it does, it becomes oily and grainy and there's not much chance of salvaging it. Once it's silky smooth, take it off the heat. Let it cool until it's barely warn and of a thick pouring consistency before using it. Pour any leftover ganache into an airtight container, seal it tightly and store it in the fridge.When you're ready to use it, gently warm it over very low heat, then let it cool to the right consistency. Pour away!