Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tiramisu, and a belated bloggiversary

It has been a little over 6 years since I started blogging. So many things have changed during this time, in life and work, in the world of blogs, and in social media in general.

Back then, when I decided to start a blog, rather hesistantly, it was mainly to publish my favorite recipes; the ones that I would want to make again and again, the ones that I would want to share with family and friends. I had been documenting favorite recipes with my notes for a long time before that. However, blogging enabled so many things that an ordinary document on my computer couldn't. Adding pictures to show how the final dish looks was a good start. The ability to tag and categorize them, and view comments from others made it even more appealing. Friends were created. Like minded communities arose. For some, book deals, home businesses, and classes were spun off. Some bloggers just stopped posting, and some of them really ought to come back. Things really have changed so much since the time I started blogging, that these days, it can be sometimes difficult to tell if a blog is a labor of love or something created by an organization for profit.

 

On my blog, things haven't changed much. The frequency of posting went down to a lamentable average of four posts a year in the last two years. I still write about the food I cook and eat as part of my daily activities, but I have very little time now to take pictures of food. Taking pictures, uploading, and linking was taking up way more time than I had as I juggled work, commute and travel for the most part.

I started another blog to fill in the gaps and to keep track of things I tried, what worked, and  what didn't. It has become my handy reference for a lot of my cooking experiments. Some of the more successful ones should really see the light of the day and be here on the main blog with some pictures to match. Alas, my pictures haven't improved much in the last few years. If anything, I feel they have developed a "sameness" to them because of which I hesitate to publish them. Here is one example. I have been making this wonderful Tiramisu for nearly three years now. The recipe is as perfect as it gets. Other than the liqueur used, I hardly make any changes to it, because it works like a charm and never fails. It is an absolute crowd pleaser and receives raves every time I make it. Seriously, it tastes better than many a sad excuse for a Tiramisu that are served at times in restaurants. It has just the right amount of decadence, is not too sweet, and doesn't use raw eggs. However, I did not want to write about it because how do I prove it to you? I have tried, but could never take a picture that would do it justice. Most recently, I made a large batch for a potluck dinner, and before rushing out of the house, I tried to take a few pictures. The end results were just as blah as before. See for yourself.

Tiramisu

The tiramisu itself was demolished down to a few crumbs by everyone, and that gives me great joy and satisfaction. The visual proof is lacking, but take my word for it, and try the recipe. I will upload a glamor shot if I get one some day.

The Best Tiramisu Ever
Recipe adapted from Baking Bites, a dependable resource for many dessert recipes

Serves: about 8

Ingredients

8-oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso, room temperature
1/4 cup Baileys original, dark rum, coffee or chocolate liqueur
approx 30-36 ladyfingers
unsweetened cocoa powder, for finishing
a few spoonfuls of grated or shaved chocolate, optional 

Method

In a large mixing bowl, mix mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and vanilla gently with a whisk or fork, and then beat the mixture at low to medium speed, increasing the speed if needed, until mixture is fluffy and very smooth.

In a small, shallow bowl, combine coffee and Baileys (or liqueur of choice). Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture very quickly to let it soak up some of the liquid, a second on each side. Do not completely soak the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture. Place in the bottom of a 8×8 or 9×9-inch square glass or ceramic dish. Place the lady fingers snugly close to each other as you go. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with the ladyfingers in a single layer. When there is a full layer of ladyfingers, spread half of the cream mixture on top of them. At this point, you can sprinkle some grated chocolate over the cream if you like.

Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and cream mixture. Dust with cocoa powder, grated chocolate, or both.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6-10 hours before serving.

Here is another lovely looking variation from the same blog, using dessert wine and raspberries.
 

26 comments:

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

While this picture might not be a great one, look at all the pictures on the right side of your blog.... They are amazing!
Sometimes the best things dont look so great!
Happy blogging anniv!

Anjali said...

Sometimes the sameness is comforting and you must make this for me when you visit next, your version sound creamier than mine. Drool. Hey and I can tell you there is a phase when you barely have time for anything but that is what it is and may be soon you will have time to indulge in things you love to do. Aha yes and the blogs journey has been so amazing for all of us who started together and things we had never imagined possible then have happened! Yours is a blog I connect with, homely and comforting and keep at it when possible. On that long note a very Happy anniversary to Evolving Tastes!

sra said...

ET, your pix are just fine! Just look at mine and you'll feel much better.

Happy bloggiversary and may you keep blogging!


TheCooker said...

Nevermind Sra's pictures. Instead look at the ones I take.
This tiramisu recipe is a real keeper!

evolvingtastes said...

Somu, thanks for always being here with something wonderful to say!

Anjali, I would love to make it for you!! Anyday. I smiled when I saw your recent post, because mine was already in drafts by then. Thanks for the longest, sweetest note ever.

Sra and TC, you are both being too kind to me, and too hard on yourself. I love how wonderfully you both write. You don't need no photos.

Priti said...

I miss you Evolving Tastes! I do check the 'notes' but I still miss your posts here. Your Tiramisu looks yum, I wish I could take a bite. Don't let those magazine like photos in some food blogs intimidate you, your photos have been great and your blog is special in its own way. Happy Anniversary!

evolvingtastes said...

Priti, wow, you made my day with your words! Thank you so much. Good to know you look around at Notes too.

Mints! said...

Happy Bloggiversary!!!

This one dessert you make and I can't taste :)
Your pictures are always homely and clutter free!! I love that about this blog. In my opinion, props don't make good pics, real good food does!

I hope this blog flourishes this year with many many more keeper recipes.

356 Tage said...

Both your blogs are a welcome addition to my blogroll and your recipes an inspiration. About your pictures - maybe you could do something about the lighting - take pictures in good daylight or with a very strong light that bounces off the white wall, to avoid heavy shadowing. I always think it's a shame to see a dish that is clearly super yummy not quite represented.
I hope you don't think I am being too teacherish...

evolvingtastes said...

Mints, I know, I too feel bad that you cannot taste it. :(
Thanks for your wishes. Let’s see about 'flourishing'. I think staying afloat will be good enough.

365 tage, danke schön! Yes, I do need to work on the light. Since I am usually out all day, I can only take pictures in the evening. I agree that delicious food should be presented just as well. You are _not_ being teacherich at all, and even if you were, I wouldn’t mind at all. I'd love to learn photo tricks from you.

356 Tage said...

:-)

Laavanya said...

Nice to know about your other blog.. gotta check it out. Happy Blog-anniversary! :)
Tiramisu is my favorite and i also use a similar eggless version that we love. A great way to celebrate this day indeed.

evolvingtastes said...

Laavanya, my other other blog is password protected, but you just need to let me know if you need access!

Home Mantra said...

Happy blog-anniversary!

If you make Tiramisu for your guests, you hardly get a chance to take pictures. Here is mine, I am sure you will cherish yours once you see it :)

http://www.myhomemantra.com/2012/12/25/tiramisu/

Home Mantra said...

Here is the link
http://www.myhomemantra.com/2012/12/25/tiramisu/

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evolvingtastes said...

Radhika, thanks for the link! Nice to see you too. You look pretty. :)

sangeeta said...

Yes, blogging was so different in it's nascent days, for me too it was just a fancier way to share recipes with friends and family. We learn so much when we decide to share, that's all I can say about blogs :-)
I am eyeing your ridge gourd chutney while typing this :-)

evolvingtastes said...

Sangeeta, thanks for stopping by!

Dayeeta Roy said...

Wonderful recipe. will definitely try..
keep up the good work,
cheers,
dayeeta

Shammi said...

Oh ET, never mind the (perceived) poor quality of your photos - personally, while I can appreciate a good photograph, my preference is for recipes that are properly described and posts that that readability! :) I see NO point in beautiful photos if the recipe accompanying them is rubbish. Please don't stop writing!

evolvingtastes said...

Dayeeta, thank you, and welcome here!

Oh Shammi, such wonderful words from you! Thank you so much.

Animom said...

Hi!

I had bookmarked this recipe and finally made it yesterday. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong but, my mascarpone+cream mixture kept separating into butter and whey every time I beat it. It would happen just a couple of minutes into the beating process. I used my stand mixer. I finally beat them separately and then layered them that way. The only plus is now I have two big blocks of sweet, vanilla flavored butter. Any thoughts on why this may have happened?

evolvingtastes said...

Animom, thanks for stopping by to write about your experience. The only reason I can think of why this would happen is overbeating.

At what speed did you bet the cream and mascarpone mixture? I use a handmixer, and mix on low speed just until it starts to thicken up and starts to create ripples. A handmixer definitely gives you more control, but with a standmixer too, you can inspect visually and stop when it starts to thicken up enough to hold on a spatula.

Hope that helps when you try again.

Animom said...

Thanks for responding. I was beating on high because your recipe said beat at high speed. I'll try your tips the next time I make it.
I think the whipping cream I used needed to be beat for a longer time to form peaks but, that was too long for the mascarpone.
I also had the mascarpone cold but, I think it needed to be at room temperature. I can be a recipe tester if you need one :)

evolvingtastes said...

Animom, thanks once again. I updated the post to reflect that speed can be increased if needed. It would really depend on the mixer, and since I do not have a stand mixer I don't know how that would work or what would be the optimal speed. Happy to have you as a recipe tester!! :)

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