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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Limoncello Granita

This is a sweet-smelling lemony dessert, smooth and creamy, that you can't stop licking the spoon. It is perfect after a heavy meal as the limoncello helps in digestion. Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur, made from lemon peels. One of our very good friend gifted us this fine bottle, after their visit to Italy. It has strong lemony flavor without any sourness or bitterness from the lemon. Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and other flavorings like lemon, orange, coffee, chocolate and so many. The texture of this frozen mixture will be semi-solid and creamy like yogurt, and the lemony flavor will leave you light and refreshing. The lemon zest gave the dessert nice yellow hue here and there, and every bite was absolutely yummy.

Come on, its cheese, liqueur and sugar, you cannot go wrong. Senthil gave 2 thumbs-up and me, very happy :)

1 cup Mascarpone Cheese (8oz)
1/2 cup Limoncello 
1 1/2 cups Lemon simple syrup
9x13 Baking dish
 For Lemon Simple Syrup:

1 Lemon's Zest
3tbsp Lemon juice
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
How to:
  • Heat a saucepan at medium heat, add the sugar, water, zest and lemon juice. Gently stir and bring it to a boil.
  • Then reduce the heat and simmer it for 5 mins. Switch off and bring it to room temperature.
For Granita:
  • Add the room temperature mascarpone cheese, limoncello and the lemon simple syrup and process until its smooth. (I used mixie and pulsed it 3 times. I guess food processor works even better.)
  • Pour the mixture into the baking dish, wrap it and freeze it for at least 4 hrs.
  • For serving, scrape the top layer with a fork or spoon and serve it immediately.

Monday, May 9, 2011


A heaven in your mouth. Tiramisu  is a popular Italian cake, made of biscuits (usually savoiardi) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone cheese, and flavored with liquor and cocoa. After going through quite a few recipes, i picked Ina Garten's (from Food Network) Tiramisu and the recipe is quite simple to follow. It is crucial for the ingredients to be at room temperature for the tiramisu to turn out perfect. I made a couple of changes in the recipe after reading the reviews. First, i reduced the rum to half of what the recipe calls for and added kahlua to get more of the coffee flavor. Then, i used instant coffee powder to make strong coffee instead of espresso. I know its not Italian to use coffee, but it wouldn't hurt. The Tiramisu turned out absolutely moist and delicate, every bite just dissolved in our mouth. Mmm mmm 'licking the spoon' good!

40 Savoiardi (Lady Finger Cookies)
16 oz Mascarpone cheese
6 Egg yolks
1/4 cup Kahlua (divided)
1/4 cup Dark Rum (divided)
1 1/4 + 1/4 cups Strong Coffee 
1/4 cup +1 tbsp Sugar
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)

(1/4 cup=4tbsps)
Also required:

Stand mixer/Hand mixer
13x9 Baking dish
Small Sifter (to dust cocoa powder)
Spatula (to spread out the filling)

How to:
  • Bring the mascarpone cheese and the separated egg yolks to room temperature.
  • Prepare strong coffee by dissolving 2 tbsp instant coffee powder in 2 cups of hot water and bring it to room temperature. (making an extra 1/2 cup of coffee, in case you run out of it)
  • Add 1/2 of the sugar to the egg yolks and beat gently, until the sugar is melted.
  • Cook the egg yolks in the double boiler for a min or two, i.e., by placing boiling water in a sauce pan on the stove and cook the egg yolks over the steam in a heat-resistant bowl, continuously whisking. (Careful, the egg yolks bowl should not touch the boiling water.)
  • In a big mixing bowl, add the mascarpone, remaining sugar, 2tbsp rum, 2tbsp Kahlua and beat it with a hand mixer for a min.
  • Then add the egg yolks-sugar mixture along with a 1/4 cup coffee to the mascarpone mixture and beat it in a medium speed until it starts to thicken. (This would be the filling)
  • Dipping liquid mixture: Mix the remaining 2tbsp rum and 2tbsp Kahlua to the 1 1/4 cups of coffee in a shallow bowl.
  • And its layering time. Make sure you have enough cookies, filling, dipping mixture and cocoa powder. We are ready to go.
  • Arrange the cookies in the baking dish, by dipping each one in the dipping mixture for a second. (It absorbs the liquid quicker than you think. The longer you soak, the cookie will become soggy and break.)
  • Now, transfer half of the mascarpone filling and spread it out evenly. Dust the top with cocoa powder.
  • Make another layer with cookies and the filling in a similar way and dust it with lots of cocoa powder.
  • Wrap it up and refrigerate it for up to 8 hours or overnight. 
  • Serve chilled and topped with more cocoa powder or shaved dark chocolate.


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