Passover Tiramisu Recipe
Typically, tiramisu is a layered dessert, combining soaked cake with a cheesy, custardy filling. It’s usually made in a large pan and then cut into serving pieces, but it can also be served in shot glasses, custard cups or champagne flutes, as you see in the picture above. The spongecake batter is easily adapted for Passover, but it can be challenging for the beginner chef, because the eggs need to be separated and the egg whites whipped to firm, but not dry, peaks. For this Passover, I'll be giving you the directions for both sheetpan and ladyfinger method, but as we get close to Passover, I'm going to try making it with packaged chocolate chip mandel bread. I think it should work, because the dried ladyfingers taste a lot like the packaged cookies, but I won't be sure until I make it. I'll report back after Passover, so you'll know if it will be good for next year. The filling is also easy to adapt for Passover, by using cream cheese and butter in place of the mascarpone, and coffee instead of the brandy or Marsala that is used in traditional tiramisu. If you can find kosher for Passover coffee or chocolate liqueur (Sabra?), or Passover brandy, that would also be delicious in this recipe. I was unable to find either where I live, so I'll have to stick with either pure coffee, or I might add a little cocoa to it to give it a more mocha flavor. The other experiment that I will do this year will be to see how the recipe needs changing if whipped cream cheese is used. Some of you will only be able to find that kind of cream cheese for Passover. Again, this recipe will use regular brick cream cheese, but you'll know for next year. I was so thrilled to see REAL vanilla extract in the Passover section this year! Passover is all about being flexible, because it's hard to know from year to year what one will be able to find that is kosher for Passover (maybe you lucky New Yorkers or Chicagoans have it easier!). After Passover, I'll post a recipe for regular tiramisu.
MUST BE MADE 1 DAY AHEAD
- 2/3 cup matzo cake meal
- 2/3 cup potato starch
- 10 large eggs, room temperature and separated (DO NOT USE PASTEURIZED EGGS)
- 1/2-3/4 cup sugar + 1/3 cup, divided
- 1 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract or Passover vanilla sugar (purchased or homemade)
- 6 large pasteurized or regular egg yolks (see below for variation)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 brewed coffee, or kosher for Passover coffee or chocolate liqueur, brandy or Marsala
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature (preferably brick, but whipped works too)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup whipping cream
- Soaking Syrup
- 3 cups warm brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup sugar (or less, to taste)
- 1/2 cup Passover Marsala, liqueur or brandy, optional (if not using this, decrease the amount of sugar)
- 6 ounces finely grated Passover semisweet chocolate, cocoa, or a combination of the two
- For the spongecake:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven (if you have a convection oven set the temperature to 375 degrees F.). Decide ahead of time if you are going to eyeball the shape and pipe the ladyfingers, in which case you want to line two cookie sheets with parchment. If you have trouble visualizing size, draw the size of the ladyfinger on the curled side of a piece of parchment. 3-1/2-inches long by 1-1/4 inches wide is a good size (to simplify, make the width the same width as your ruler so you don’t actually have to measure).
Turn the parchment over, so that when you start piping you will not be piping onto the side you have drawn on. Set the parchment on greased baking sheets (the grease keeps the parchment anchored so it doesn't go flying when you move the sheet). Another alternative is to spoon the batter into two jelly roll pans and then spread it into a sheet. For this method you'll want to spray a dab of oil onto the bottom of two jelly roll pans and then cut parchment to fit the pans.
For the spongecake batter:In a small bowl, sift together the matzo cake meal and potato starch. Set aside.
Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed, adding ½ cup of sugar gradually. If you like sweeter cake, beat in another 1/4 cup of sugar (3/4 cup total). When all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high, and beat until the egg yolks are thick, fluffy and pale in color, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, if using. Sift the flour mixture into the egg yolks, but do not mix together.
Transfer the eggs whites to a large, clean, grease-free mixing bowl. Using clean, grease-free beaters, beat the eggs whites until very foamy throughout.
Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, and beat the whites just until they form stiff peaks. Do not overbeat or they will be hard to blend into the batter.
STIR 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten the texture. Fold in the remaining egg whites.
Spoon the batter into a pastry bag with a ¾-inch round tip. Using the template you have drawn on the parchment paper, pipe ladyfingers leaving ½-inch between each ladyfinger (your batter will be lighter and fluffier than what is pictured here, which are actually eclairs - shown just so you can see the angle of the pastry bag).
Below, is actually the dough you will be using. I've piped these by eye (you can see they aren't all exactly the same length), and the fatter ones are the ones I spooned on.
An alternative method is to spoon the batter into two prepared jelly-roll pans
and then spread the batter as evenly as possible, without deflating it too much. It's okay if the batter is a bit lumpy and uneven - much better than deflating it.
Place the pans in the oven, and bake 5 minutes. Switch the pans so the bottom one is now on the top, and bake another 5 minutes until the ladyfingers or cakes are golden brown (you won't need to switch sheets if using a convection oven) and springy to the touch.
Remove the sheets from the oven. For the ladyfingers, slide the parchment paper onto cooling racks. Remove the ladyfingers from the parchment paper before they cool completely. For the cakes, let them cool in the pan and then cut around the edges and slide the cakes onto a cutting board. When cool, cut the cakes into fingers. Because it's too hard to get the cake perfectly spread in the pan, some pieces will be thinner than others. You have about 10 more than you ned, so you may discard any that are overly thin or thick.
If using the ladyfingers within a day or two, reheat the oven to 400 degrees (350 if you have lots of very thin fingers), place the ladyfingers on a cookie sheet, flat side up, and place them back in the oven. Turn the oven off, and let them toast for about an hour, checking after 30 minutes to make sure they aren't too brown. They should be toasted and firm. Set aside to cool. For longer storage, freeze the untoasted ladyfingers for up to 3 months. Defrost before using them, and then toast them as above.
For the filling:
For pasteurized eggs, place them (in the shell) into a bowl of hot water. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Crack the eggs, save or discard the whites and transfer the yolks to a large mixer bowl. Beat for a minute to blend, and then beat in the sugar. Continue to beat until the eggs are pale and thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the coffee.
If using regular eggs, whisk in the sugar and the coffee, and then beat them on medium speed, over boiling water. for 3 minutes. Keep the beater moving to prevent the egg from overcooking. Increase the beater speed to high and beat for 4 more minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat for 7 minutes to cool the eggs down.
To continue, beat the cream cheese with butter until well mixed. Stir in 1 cup of the egg mixture and then fold in the remainder (if using the whipped cream cheese you might need to use less of the egg mixture. You don't want it to be too soupy, but it will thicken back up after you add in the whipped cream).
Place the whipping cream in a small bowl. Beat on high speed until the mixture forms firm peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
For the syrup:
Combine the warm coffee, sugar and alcohol, if using, in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
To assemble the tiramisu, dip one ladyfinger at a time into the syrup, turning it in the syrup for about 10 seconds, just until it softens, but isn’t soft throughout. Place each, flat side up, in an 9x12-inch decorative pan, until the whole bottom is covered.
Spoon on half of the filling. Dip the remaining ladyfingers, as above, placing them on top of the filling. Spoon on the remaining filling. Cover the pan with foil. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, sprinkle the top with grated chocolate, cocoa or a combination (adding in some ground coffee might be nice, too). The Tiramisu will be firm enough to cut into pieces, although the first piece will be hard to remove. Use a small square spatula to get the pieces out of the pan.
If you want to make the tiramisu in a glass cup, you'll want to either pipe rounds, or use the jelly-roll method and cut out rounds from the single sheet.
Remember that if the glass flares out, the rounds need to be graduated from small on the bottom, to larger at the top. Adding grated chocolate between the layers, as well as on top, looks really pretty when you can see the dessert through the glass.