267_elyse  - The Julie Gritton Team


I was recently gifted a small bottle of rum from a friend of my husband’s who had just returned from a trip to Jamaica. She had told him that she knew that I liked to bake so she thought I would enjoy using it in a recipe. To say I was moved by the gesture is to say the least, but I wasn’t sure what to make with it. In the past, I have cooked and baked with wine and beer, but I had not used liquor before. As a thank you, I had tried to brainstorm on what I could possibly make and decided to pull out my favorite Betty Crocker cookbook to see what recipes were available that called for this specific ingredient. To my pleasure, there was a desert recipe that I had not tried to make yet and that I was surprised called for it; tiramisu. Upon further inspection in other cookbooks that I have, it appears that rum isn’t typically called for in tiramisu, but I thought I would go forth with the recipe I found and try it out.

The list of ingredients was simple enough to gather and are staples I normally have on hand for baking and cooking purposes such as eggs, whipping cream, sugar, coffee, and vanilla extract. The Betty Crocker recipe called for either pound cake or ladyfingers, but I opted to purchase the ladyfingers to stay true to a more classic style. I had contemplated trying to make the ladyfingers myself, but for the sake of time (and my sleep schedule) I chose to purchase them. Once I was certain that I had everything I needed, I got to making the tiramisu.

The very first thing to make was the custard which was a first for me. The custard called for just the egg yolks (no whites) to be mixed with sugar as part of the first step. Easy enough, I have separated egg yolks from whites many times during my kitchen excursions. I grabbed a bowl to begin separating the egg whites from the yolks and as soon as I had finished doing this with the first egg, I had realized the error of my ways. I needed an extra bowl to deposit the egg yolk into, not just the egg whites. Luckily, my husband was within earshot so he readily grabbed an extra bowl for me so I could put the egg yolk into it. If you want to save on making one less dish to wash, you can always put the egg yolks directly into the pot that you will be making your

custard in which I did not think of until I had finished this task. Once the eggs were separated and the yolks were in the pot, I mixed them together well with sugar. I then turned the heat on my stove to medium heat and stirred the mixture continuously throughout the process until the egg yolk and sugar mixture was brought to a boil and removed it from the heat to mix in the milk until blended. As soon as this step was completed, I transferred the custard mixture to a mixing bowl and put plastic wrap right on top of the custard so that there was no air surrounding it and placed it in the refrigerator to cool. In the meantime, I brewed some strong coffee and mixed it with two tablespoons of the rum I was gifted and set that inside of my refrigerator to cool as well. According to the recipe, it would take about an hour for the custard to cool so I decided to go and watch a show.

Well, I got two shows in and a short nap. The cooling process may be a symptom of the size of the bowl I put the custard in to cool off, but the custard eventually became cool enough to work with. I then whipped the whipping cream and the vanilla extract together so that I would have that ready to go and commenced assembly. The first layer called for the ladyfingers which I had split in half and lengthwise (they came already precut this way) and arranged them accordingly. Although I was using a dish that had the correct dimensions, I noticed there was a gap between the two rows of ladyfingers. I was concerned about this but decided to go forward with brushing the ladyfingers with the coffee and rum mixture before applying the first layer of custard.

I struggled when applying the first layer of custard. I had not dispersed the custard well enough and in consequence the top of some of the ladyfingers were displaced as I spread it. Eventually I was able to cover the ladyfingers before applying the first layer of whipped cream which went a little smoother. I repeated this process except this time I was a little braver with the ladyfinger layer and after realizing I had some extra lady fingers, I was able to fit some of the

remaining ladyfingers in the gap lengthwise. I discovered that I had enough ladyfingers left over that I could have done this with the fist layer, but it was too late to turn back. The tiramisu assembly was complete after I repeated the above steps and then I finished it off with a dusting of baking cacao. When I had a chance to appraise the tiramisu’s initial appearance and was pleased with the presentation it was time to place the finished product into my refrigerator to marinate overnight so that it would be ready for husband to take with him the next day to share with his friends.

The next day when my husband had come back from his engagement, the pan was almost empty except for about two servings. Initially, I was disappointed that there was some left until my husband told me that he had intentionally saved some for me so that I could try it since it was such a huge hit. Even better, tiramisu happened to be the favorite dessert of the friend who was the inspiration behind making it to begin with! After dinner I tried it and I must admit, it was good. The tiramisu was light and sweet since the unsweetened whipped cream gave the perfect balance to counter the custard. This is a recipe I would gladly use again and I would even venture to possibly try out some minor changes.

In the future if I were to make this again with the premade ladyfingers, I would be sure to utilize all of the ladyfingers in both layers rather than having it unevenly dispersed. It’s a minor detail, but I would be interested to see how the extra ladyfingers coated with the coffee and rum mixture would change the flavor. I also would be interested in trying this recipe with homemade ladyfingers. When I was briefly reading about homemade versus store bought ladyfingers, the consensus was that the homemade version was fluffier and not as dry as the store bought version. I think that the drier texture of the store bought ladyfingers was a good choice since they were moistened with the coffee mixture, but I’m interested to find out if the fluffier homemade ladyfingers will hold up just as well.

Thank you for joining me on this dessert journey! The recipe I used was from the 11th edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook Newlywed Edition if you would like to replicate it for yourself and give it a try. Until next time we hope that you are enjoying the beginning of this Fall season and we on The Julie Gritton Team look forward to speaking with you soon!