Saturday, February 14, 2009

Green Tea-ramisu

A little snipet of my e-mail conversation with my housemate (why email and not face to face you say? it's because eventhough we share the same address, we rarely share our nights under the same roof. I see her more outside the house rather than inside)

Me: What cake do you want?
Miss Polip: awww.... so twit... you know what I want.. TIRAMISU.. any version you like as long as it has heaps of sponge
fingers.. xp

Of coursee... After days of contemplating what cake to make for my special housemate, I completely overlooked the one thing she always asked me to make. It's not that I don't like Tiramisu, it's actually one of my favourite dessert of all time. It's one of the very first dessert I ever made from scratch after I move passed the premix cakes. But it's just that I made it in one too many occasion. But, since this is the first time we spent her birthday together after 3 or so years of our friendship, her wish is my command!

From our emails, I got the sense that she's asking me to be more creative with the tiramisu, so I decided to try making an Asian take on this beloved traditional Italian dessert. I researched for some recipes online and found a lot of great ones. However, from reading this recipes, I noticed that what they're doing differently than the original one, is just adding matcha powder to the cheese mixture, and substitute the liquor with sake or a fruity based liquor rather than the usual coffee based liquor. So I went back to my trusted recipe that I've been using for a while. I made Tiramisu so many times I can make them with my eyes closed.

When I'm making a whole cake, especially if it's being served in a party-like environment, I like to use sponge cake rather than sponge fingers so it can hold their shape when it's cut. I used a joconde biscuit recipe for the base. I still have some matcha powder left in my pantry, but opted for a fresh batch since I read online, that it's better to use fresh matcha powder for better tasting result. Old matcha powder tends to loose their taste intensity and their caffeine level is usually increased with age.

In using matcha powder, a little actually goes a long way. Using too much, you can end up with a bitter after taste and might make your guest high strung in caffeine. One recipe can make a generous amount of cream cheese mixture, so I ended up with an 11 inch cake and two 4 inch individual cakes. The cake was fabulous! not too sweet and had a very aromatic and intense green tea flavour.

Green Tea-ramisu (I forgot where I first got this recipe, I think it was from one of the little recipe collection book from Periplus)

Joconde (from "Paris Sweets" by Dorie Greenspan) - half recipe
30g unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
10g granulated sugar
112g almond flour
112g icing sugar, sifted
3 large eggs
35g all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line two jelly-roll pans (pans with raised edges) with parchment paper, and coat parchment with 1 tbsp of the melted butter.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on low speed until the whites become foamy, then whip on medium-high speed until the whites reach soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, and whip on high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy.

In a separate mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat almond flour, icing sugar, and eggs on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and voluminous. Add flour and beat at low speed until it disappears. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold meringue into the almond mixture, then fold in the remaining melted butter until just combined. Divide batter between the two pans and spread evenly.

Bake cake 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from their pans, and let them cool to room temperature.

Green tea cream cheese
250g Mascarpone cheese

250g Cream Cheese
1/2 cup thickened cream

4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 tsp matcha powder

Cream the cheese using the paddle attachment on your mixer. Add cream, matcha powder & egg yolks one at a time and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form using the whisk attachment of your mixer. When soft peaks form, gradually add caster sugar and mix until stiff and glossy. Gently fold egg whites to the cheese mixture.

Soaking mixture
freshly brewed green tea
sake or orange flavoured liquor, use according to taste, depends on how strong you like your alcohol

20 sponge fingers for decoration
100g icing sugar mixed with 1 tsp of matcha powder for decoration

To assemble
Using a spring form pan, position the pan in the middle of your cake board and line the sides of the pan with glad wrap or parchment paper to avoid cream sticking to the pan. Align the sponge fingers to form a picket fence on along the inside of the pan. I cut the bottom of the sponge fingers so it can sit nicely in the pan, and I made them to tilt slightly for an extra touch. Trim the joconde to fill the middle area of the pan. Make sure it covers the bottom of the pan. Brush the cake with the soaking mixture. Pour about 1/3 of the cream cheese, level them with a spatula. put another piece of joconde on top, and brush with the soaking mixture. Pour another 1/3 of the cream cheese until it reaches about 1 cm shorter than the sponge fingers. level them with a spatula. cover it tightly with a glad wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Use the leftovers to make individual cakes. Sprinkle with green tea-icing sugar just before serving

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