The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.
I searched high and low for plain, pasteurized cream and had no such luck but all was well my search ended with a bouquet of @->-- pink roses from a friendly stranger at Trader Joe's.
Its a cute little story actually. So, I had checked all my local grocers and simple pasteurized cream was nowhere to be found. With high hopes, I made one last dash to my trusty local Trader Joe's. I rushed to the dairy isle but to my final disappointment I saw ultra-pasteurized products lined neatly on the shelves. Alas, my search was over and that was only the beginning of what ended in a Mascarpone mess. After a slight sigh, I turned to leave. I'm sure I looked pretty disappointed so it was not to my surprise when a nice young sales clerk approached me and naturally, he asked: "Is there something I can help you with?" I shared my woes and took the time to tell him that I need plain, not ultra pasteurized milk and that I have been to the moon and back looking for this because I need it to make Tiramisu for my Daring Bakers challenge, an online group that has forums where a majority of other members all over the world seem to be having this exact same issue...and now could you please tell me where I can get this stuff?? :) Poor guy, he didnt know he was going to get the full story on Mascarpone cheese making. Well, long story short he gave me a few more names to try before giving up completely and just out of nowhere grabbed the closest bouquet of flowers and told me to have a nice day...What a kind gesture. He made a Trader Joe's shopper out of me : p
My Review on Tiramisu:This was a difficult challenge only because you need pasteurized not ultra pasteurized to make Mascarpone cheese from scratch. Unfortunately, commercial regulations mandate specific pasteurization techniques so this is becoming increasingly, if not, impossibly hard to find .I tried making the cheese twice but it failed both times. The recipe called for a tablespoon of lemon juice to help the cream curdle but that really didn't do very much. Recently, an experienced Mascarpone-cheese-maker told me that you have to add tartaric acid and this recipe should work with any kind of milk/cream. He had to travel several hours to a specialty store to get this ingredient. So, we'll just save the Mascarpone cheese making for another time. :)
Also, the lady fingers really are a snap to put together but if you don't have a sifter, don't bother. The light and even coating of powdered sugar is what gives these cookies their notable crispy exteriors and light fluffy chew. I used a spoon to sprinkle but just ended up with random, mini mounds of powdered sugar everywhere which did not yield a traditional lady finger. None the less, these were still yummy.
spotted lady fingers : )