This weekend I was asked to make a celebration cake for a friends birthday dinner. Now celebration cakes are definitely not a strength and in addition the request was for a Tiramisu cake. This was going to be a double challenge for me because I am not a fan of coffee.
Hard to believe I know but I have never drunk coffee nor like the taste nor the smell of it. Even more ironic is that I owned a food store that sold coffee beans and I make hundreds of coffees for customers every day.
When I was a young girl I remember going to a small chocolate/coffee store in Glenferrie Road Malvern were my mum would order around a kilo of beans that would be ground into a fine powder. The beans would go into this boxed machine which made a high pitched painful loud noise as what was once a bean spat out the other end as powder into a bag. The pungent aroma of the beans would be intoxicating and I would be given the prized warm bag containing the powdered coffee to carry home.
At home I was taught to make the brew. In what is called a 'jesve' or Turkish coffee pot. Now technically the correct term is 'Armenian' coffee for those of you who need to be educated and have never met my father! So the 'jesve' has a long handle, in it you would put one heaped teaspoon of coffee for each cup of coffee being made (small little cups). You would bring the brew to boil. As it would rise to the top about to boil over you would take it off the heat, after the eruption went down you would place the pot back on the heat to bring it to near overflow again, repeating this process for at least 20 times. By the time you finished the smell of the dark muddy coffee brew would have filtered through you nostrils and taken over the hairs on your arm.
As a result of this coffee 'torture' as a young girl I feel that I have suffered over exposure to this intoxicating smell (that some adore) taking me in the opposite direction to those who love it.
So back to my challenge of making a Tiramisu. Given my history with coffee this is a dessert that I have never made for obvious reason.
My first port of call for recipe inspiration is aways Ottolenghi, but no luck there. After some Google action I decided on using a Gourmet Traveller recipe. With freshly brewed 'Silva' coffee at the ready I embarked on my mission. Three layers of a dense sponge which contained coffee and in between each layer a mascarpone cream, a coffee and Frangelico syrup and a layer of sprinkled cocoa powder. The end result looked like this.
It was well received and I think worked well. If anything if I were to make this again I would make some extra mascarpone cream to cover the sides to avoid the sponge from drying out as it needs to set in the fridge for two hours for the flavours to meld.
I did actually have a piece that night and survived!