Friday, November 19, 2010

Custard tart and tiramisu make dessert heaven

The custard tart was easily the hit of the evening. The rating explains why.

A relatively easy to make and tasty tiramisu deserves this rating.

Custard tart and tiramisu make dessert heaven

I feel that with this week’s post I’ve come back full circle. It was partly because of a great dessert I made for a dinner party at friends’ place that I started this blog – read my second post on the dulce de leche cheesecake and you’ll know what I mean.

Vanilla custard tart
Photo: Renee H
This time, with the same group of friends, a different dessert was needed. There were eight of us this time around; almost enough to make two different desserts, so I did! I thought about what I would make for a week or so before finally settling on vanilla custard tart from the September 2010 issue of delicious; and tiramisu, from Twelve: A Tuscan cookbook by Tessa Kiros.

Twelve was given to me a couple of years ago by my friend Nat – either for Christmas or my birthday, I forget which – when she couldn’t find Jamie’s Italy (which I now have). It’s a book I really like – full of the rustic, Italian flavours I love – but I rarely use it, so I was delighted to have this recipe to cook from, especially given there are at least another five tiramisu recipes in my collection. Oddly enough, this was actually the first time I’d ever made tiramisu.

Popular dessert, and for good reason!
Photo: Renee H
First, a round of applause goes to Renee and her husband Al for hosting the dinner party, and to Renee in particular for the great photos. Stylish! By the way, I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was on the hunt for a new camera. Thanks to Dan’s recommendation (it’s Academy Awards night for Jo’s friends!), I bought a Panasonic Lumix G2. It’s like a small DSLR. I’ve taken photos of dinner during the week, but that will be next week’s post. Now I just need to learn how to use it. Anyway, I had hoped to have my new camera to take these photos, but Emperor D missed the delivery guy by just 15 minutes and I had to wait until Monday to get it.

I’ve seriously digressed, so back to dessert. I made the custard tart first, the night before and, in another first for me, I made sweet shortcrust pastry from scratch. It turned out okay. The custard was easy to make, especially with Betty lending a hand. Put it all together, bake, and… oh! Amazing. Just gorgeous. The custard was just set and had a lovely smooth texture, which contrasted nicely with the crumbliness of the shortcrust base. The taste though – I just can’t describe it. It was divine. There were oohs and aahs all around the table and I think nearly everyone had seconds.

Tiramisu and the layers
of biscuits and cream
Photo: Renee H
Despite making two desserts for this party, I feel like I didn’t raise much of a sweat at all. Tessa Kiros’ tiramisu was quite easy; simply mixing in egg yolks and marscapone, and then folding in egg whites. Then I dipped savoiardi biscuits in strong coffee and, in this case, Marsala wine, before I layered it all and grated dark chocolate over the top. Next time I’d like to try this with Frangelico, which I’m quite partial to, instead of Marsala. It was quite nice, with a great mix of flavours, but really, it was completely outshone by the tart.

There was enough dessert though to feed a small army; Emperor D and I polished off the tart the next day, and there was a third of the tiramisu left. However, that army, and my friends and I, found ourselves in dessert heaven. The next dinner party will be a tough task for me to try and top that effort.

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