Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Ultimate Pick Me Up


This month's You Want Pies With That? hosts Jacque and Natashya chose the theme "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". They asked that we make a pie based on someone famous. It can be inspired by them or something you'd like to serve them if they ever dropped by. Our famous celebrity must be someone who has had more than 15 minutes of fame. So all you reality show hacks can apply elsewhere.


Champagne wishes and caviar dreams

For the uninitiated, the premise behind YWPWT is to make a pie (or anything pie-ish like a tart) inspired by the chosen theme. Then everyone who made a pie can vote for their favorite pie and the baker with the most votes gets to host and choose the theme the following month.


Tiramisu is a dessert typically made from ladyfingers soaked in espresso and Marsala and then layered with a mascarpone cream. Tiramisu means "pick me up" in Italian. The dessert will do that to you because of the espresso and booze. I decided to turn a typical tiramisu into a tiramisu tart. I made a tart shell with pate sucree which is like a sugar cookie dough. I then sweetened some mascarpone cheese and blended it with some whipped heavy cream. I also made a genoise (sponge cake) and soaked that in an espresso-Kahlua syrup. Then I layered the cream and soaked genoise in the tart shell (which I first brushed with some melted chocolate) and I topped it off with a dusting of cocoa and some bittersweet chocolate shavings.


Now what does tiramisu have to do with Brad Pitt?

Could it be the sweet, dreamy clouds of mascarpone cream?


Perhaps the smoldering, dark espresso?


Or maybe it’s the simple fact that no matter how bad a day you've had, this sight has to be the ultimate pick me up.


"Brad Pitt Me Up" Tiramisu Tart
(makes one 9-inch tart)

Four components: pate sucree, genoise, espresso syrup, mascarpone cream.

1. Pate Sucree (Sweet Dough Crust)
(makes 14 ounces)

4 ounces (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (200g / 7 ounces) all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream

In a food processor with the metal blade, pulse the butter and sugar about 15 times. Add the flour and salt and pulse again about 15 times or until the butter in no larger than small peas.

In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk and cream. Add it to the mixture and pulse until just incorporated, about 8 times. The dough will still be crumbly.

Empty onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap press the dough together, kneading it a few times until the dough becomes one smooth piece. Flatten into a 6-inch disk.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until it's firm enough to pat into the pan or to roll.

You will only need 11 ounces of the dough to line your 9 x 1-inch tart pan. Save the rest of the dough for another use. It's important that your tart pan be at least 1 inch deep. I used a springform pan and made sure that my dough came 1 inch up the sides. Also, be sure to use a pan with a removable bottom - it'll make it easier to get your finished tart out.

Roll your dough in between lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/8-inch thick circle. Trim the edges of the rolled dough so that you have 11 1/2 inch circle. Gently transfer dough to your pan and press into pan, making sure that the dough comes up at least 1/8 inch above the rim of the tart pan. If the dough tears, just patch the holes with scraps. Wrap the lined pan well and refrigerate for 6 hours if you have the time. The longer rest period will help decrease the shrinkage during baking. But if you're pressed for time, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F. Remove the plastic wrap and line the dough with parchment (pleat the parchment to make it fit nicely). Fill the parchment with pie weights. Bake at 400F for 5 minutes. If the dough puffs in places, prick it lightly with a fork. Lower the heat to 375F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until set. Lift out the weights with the parchment, prick lightly and continue bake for 10 to 15 minutes. (So total baking time would be 30 to 40 minutes). Let crust cool in the pan.

pie weights

2. Genoise (Sponge Cake)

3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup cake flour, measure and then sift 3 times

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare one 9-inch round cake pan by buttering just the bottom. Line with a parchment circle and butter the paper.

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and place the bowl over the simmering water. Insert a thermometer. Whisk constantly until the temperature reaches 110F, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and attach bowl to your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed for 5 to 8 minutes or until the eggs are three times their original volume, are thick and pale yellow and form a ribbon that doesn’t dissolve when drizzled from a spatula.

Turn down the mixer to medium speed and whip for 2 more minutes. This helps the form to stabilize. Decrease speed to low, stream in the melted butter and mix for 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer.

Add the flour. Fold in gently with a balloon whisk, maintaining as much of the foam as possible.

Pour the batter into your pan. Tap the pan lightly on your countertop three times to eliminate any air bubbles. Then, using the same jerking wrist motion you would use to toss a Frisbee, swing the pan around on your countertop so that the batter is forced up the sides of the pan. This will prevent a dome from forming in the middle of the cake.

Bake 25 to 27 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the top of the cake with your finger. The indentation should spring right back if it's done. If it's not done, bake another 5 to 10 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack, gently peel off the parchment. Cool for at least 2 hours. Slice the cake horizontally to get a 1/3-inch thick disk or cake. Make sure the disk will fit inside your baked tart crust. If necessary, trim some of the edges to make it fit. Save the remaining cake for another use.

3. Espresso Syrup

4 tsp instant espresso powder (I use Medaglia d'Oro brand)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup water, divided use
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee liqueur (like Kahlua brand)

In a small saucepan, stir together the espresso powder, sugar, and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the espresso and sugar. Remove from heat and add remaining 1/3 cup water, vanilla and liquor. Can be made 1 day ahead (store in refrigerator).

4. Mascarpone Cream

1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee liqueur (like Kahlua brand)
1 cup heavy cream

Put mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.

Working with a stand or hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch (you don’t want to deflate your mixture). Use immediately.

How to assemble your tiramisu tart

Place your disk of genoise on a sheet of plastic wrap and brush with half the espresso syrup.

Make sure your baked tart crust has cooled completely. Leave tart crust in pan. Melt 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate. Warm 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and stir into melted chocolate until well combined. With the chocolate mixture, "paint" the bottom of your crust. This helps to moisture proof the tart crust so that it doesn’t get soggy.

Spoon half of the mascarpone cream into your chocolate painted tart crust, spreading the cream gently and evenly with an offset spatula. Place the genoise disk, syrup side down, on top of the cream. Brush genoise with the remaining syrup. Spread remaining mascarpone cream gently and evenly on top of genoise. Dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Refrigerate tart at least 3 hours before serving.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

OMG, that pie looks gorgeous! An incredible treat!



MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now that is just one great title for your pie!!!

VeggieGirl said...

I WANT THAT NOW!!! Brad Pitt + pie = two of life's greatest pleasures ;-)

Nichi said...

Dang that looks delicious... the pie not the Pitt.
Very clever of you to distract us with picture of Brad though... sneaky!

Arctic Garden Studio said...

I always love reading your blog and have made many of your recipes. Of all your recipes, I think I have enjoyed the pictures of this one the most!!

Maris said...

I love it! I'm not sure which photo I like better, the pie, or Brad Pitt with the sunglasses!

Madam Chow said...

That looks incredible. You're going to win for sure this month!

Anonymous said...

Love it!!! It looks so delicious!

suz said...

Very lovely, and definitely delicious looking!

Jen H said...

I was thinking of a tiramisu pie too! But am very glad I didn't do one to go up against this amazing creation. Awesome job!

Natalie said...

so clever- and looks delish! i love the added bonus of the Pitt pictures. :)

Sara said...

Yum, this looks SO yummy! What a creative interpretation of a tiramisu!

Mrs. L said...

You put wonderful photos of food AND Brad Pitt up on your blog? I so heart you!

Jacque said...

Oh my goodness, he is just shockingly good looking, isn't he? Wow!

Just like your pie... wow! That is so perfect and scrumptious looking. I like how the chocolate exterior hides the treats inside. Nice job!

Allergy Mom said...

I'm feeling perked up just looking at the pictures! (Yes, I mean the pie. No, really.) Tiramasu pie is just brilliant. Libby

Juliana said...

The pie looks so delicious...love the pictures...all of them :-)

Kristen said...

I can't figure out which images are better to look at! ;)

Lisa Michelle said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, and I'm not talking about Brad Pitt! That Tiramisu pie looks deevine!!! Love your theme..but I'd take your pie over him ANY DAY! :)

Rebecca said...

We won the pie challenge!

Now, we're supposed to put our heads together and decide on a challenge for everyone to take on this July. E-mail me at rebecca@ezrapoundcake.com.

Anonymous said...

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breadchick said...

OK, now that one good looking pie...and the Tiramisu looks pretty good too ;-)

Leslie said...

That's one sexy dessert!