Feb 27
This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was almost the challenge that wasn’t.  The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking.  They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month.  Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.  Tiramisu, the famous Italian dessert, made by layering savoiardi (aka, ladyfinger biscuits) dipped in coffee and a decadent creamy mixture made of all kinds of good things like mascarpone cheese, eggs, and sugar.  The dessert is topped off with a dusting of cocoa powder.  Our requirements for this challenge were to make our own savoiardi, mascarpone cheese, zabaglione, and pastry cream using the recipes provided to us by our hosts.   The mascarpone cheese, zabaglione, and pastry cream were then all used to make that creamy mixture that was then layered with the savoiardi.

Orange Coconut Tiramisu

Although the challenge had 4 different required elements, none of the elements is particularly difficult to make.  So why did I say that this was the challenge that almost wasn’t?  Because I almost got beat by a carton of whipping cream, a honey bear, and a three-year-old.  Almost.

I was planning on serving the tiramisu for dessert this past Wednesday night.  We were having dinner company and I wanted something delicious.  The recipe for the mascarpone cheese calls for whipping cream—specifically pasteurized whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized).  After going to FOUR DIFFERENT STORES and only finding cartons of ultra-pasteurized whipping cream, I was about to throw in the towel.  But I’m stubborn, so I ended up throwing a carton of that ultra-pasteurized whipping cream in my shopping cart.  I thought, “Hey, even if my cheese doesn’t turn out AT ALL, then at least I can say I tried.”  That was Saturday night.

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

Fast forward a couple of days and I was in my kitchen making the savoiardi.  Bug was down for her morning nap and Squirrel was playing happily in the corner, piling toys under a little table like she was storing nuts for the winter.  She and I were talking as I worked.  She was telling me about her toys and what they were doing.  As I worked I became aware that although she was answering my questions, she was becoming increasingly less talkative.  This is not normal.  I quietly stopped what I was doing and tip toed over to her corner, catching her in mid-squeeze.  She had a bottle of honey in her hands and she was using it to “decorate” her toys.  You know the bottle I’m talking about, right?  Plastic and shaped like a bear?  Cute, right?  NOT.  I swear that honey bear had a grin of devilish delight on its little plastic face as it acted as Squirrel’s accomplice.  I spent the next TWO HOURS cleaning honey off of hands, hair, toys, and carpet.  I won’t be sorry if I don’t see another drop of honey for the next two years.

Homemade Savoiardi Biscuits

Despite pasteurized whipping cream being an extremely elusive creature, my mascarpone cheese turned out perfectly.  So perfectly in fact that I would have been content to eat it all with a spoon and forget the challenge altogether.  Despite losing precious time due to the honey incident I somehow finished all of the other elements, assembled my tiramisu, and got it into the fridge to sit for the required 24-hour waiting period.  I still have no idea how I finished it all.  Wednesday night when we finally got to dig into it, I dusted the top with cocoa powder, and passed out dessert plates with generous portions.  I savored my first bite, happy with the knowledge that whipping cream and a three-year-old armed with a honey bear had not managed to beat me this time.  The tiramisu was a good reward.

Taking a bite of tiramisu.

I made an orange coconut tiramisu, instead of the traditional coffee flavors.  Instead of using wine or coffee to make the zabaglione, I used coconut milk.  Then when I mixed the cream mixture together I also folded in 1/2 cup of shredded coconut.  Instead of dipping the savoiardi in coffee, I dipped them in warmed orange juice.  The orange juice complimented the lemon zest in the zabaglione and vanilla pastry cream nicely, and the subtle coconut flavors were delicious.

Tiramisu comfort.

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Orange Coconut Tiramisu

Adapted from Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007

Makes 8 servings

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup whole milk

To assemble the tiramisu:
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups orange juice, warmed
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Make the zabaglione: Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.  In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.  Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.  Let the zabaglione cool to room temperature and then transfer it to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight, until it is thoroughly chilled.

2. Make the pastry cream: Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the egg yolk and half the milk and whisk until smooth.

Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.  Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)  Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

3. Make the whipped cream: Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

4. To assemble the tiramisu: Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.  Put the warmed orange juice in a shallow dish.  In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream and the shredded coconut. Set this cream mixture aside.

5. Working quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the orange juice, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.  Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.  Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

6. To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren February 27, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I’m sorry that this challenge didn’t go very smoothly, but I think that that honey bear story is going to be told for years to come =D.

Your tiramisu looks amazing, and the coconut would be simply sensational! I’m glad it turned out well =D.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) February 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm

@Lauren, You’re probably right Lauren! I can totally imagine us telling it to embarrass her at her wedding… :)


Sonja {the Active foodie} February 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I love your twist on the tiramisu! mmmm….coconut! Your story of the honey bear is just too cute (although I can imagine your frustration at the time! sheesh!) Congrats on finally finishing! Now i’m seriously craving some tiramisu!


sherry February 27, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I especially love this post. The dessert is fabulous but the honey story is priceless!


Barbara Bakes February 27, 2010 at 6:40 pm

What a fabulous flavor combination! It looks perfect! Sorry about the honey incident!


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Yum… I love your orange coconut twist on Tiramisu!! So sorry to hear about the honey incident!


Jeanne February 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

What a unique adaptation, it sounds delicious! Your photos are stunning. I am so glad that the honey bear incident didn’t ruin your tiramisu experience!


Fuji Nana February 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I would love to see a picture our Honey with the honey. Maybe next time? Meanwhile, I’d settle for a piece of that tiramisu.


Sara February 27, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Oh my! Looking at your beautiful pics of the orange coconut tiramisu…I am drooling..want some now! :)


chocolate shavings February 28, 2010 at 12:03 am

Your tiramisu looks perfect!


Divina February 28, 2010 at 5:18 am

Your tiramisu is amazing. The flavors are wonderful and unique.


Meeta February 28, 2010 at 6:18 am

oh yes that honey bear can be a devil. nasty – but you rose to the challenge brillinatly and coconut + orange = <3


[email protected] February 28, 2010 at 6:25 am

Ummmm – all those obstacles and you still managed to pull off a stunning dessert. You rock Rachael! Damn honey bear!!!


Winnie February 28, 2010 at 8:28 am

What a funny story!
Your tiramisu looks fantastic-I love coconut just about every way possible!


Elizabeth E. February 28, 2010 at 8:44 am

I wondered how you were going to adapt tiramisu, given the coffee/alcohol ingredients. I read over yours and will probably give it a try (minus the shredded coconut because–oh my–I hate it). I may even like tiramisu! I’ve never been a fan of the stuff in the restaurants, so looking forward to trying this.


Aparna February 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

Tiramisu is definitely an ample reward for all that sticky clening up! :) Like the idea of coconut milk. Shall try that next time.
Thanks for baking with us.


Gala February 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

Wow sounds like a lot to go through for a tiramisu! I love the unique flavors. Coconut seems to work well in it.


alene February 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Wow, how come you’ve never made that when you come to visit us.. The honey incident reminds me oddly of another incident, toothpaste anyone!!


Paula - bell'alimento February 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Gaw-geous! What an fantabulous twist on my most favorite dessert of all time! Super impressive EVERYTHING from scratch! You are a rawkstar!


[email protected] February 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm

This looks beautiful and delicious! Did you make the ladyfingers from scratch?


Fuji Mama (Rachael) February 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

@[email protected], Thanks Gaelle! Yep, I made the ladyfingers—that was one of the requirements of the challenge!


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best February 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

*Big sigh* The bear incident has me breathless. Mama bear was probably pretty at that point.
It was an excellent idea to create tiramisu in single servings. It made for beautiful presentation.


Megan February 28, 2010 at 8:25 pm

That sounds delicious! A couple of things;
What in the world is ultra-pasteurized whipping cream? I don’t think we even have it in Australia. It sounds like a gimmick, especially since it made no difference to your recipe using just plain, non-ultra-pasteurized whipping cream!
Secondly, as terrible as Squirrel’s little adventure/experiment sounds, it is good to hear that she does behave like a normal toddler sometimes! Sorry, but it does sound very cute and funny. I would love to know what she was thinking!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) February 28, 2010 at 8:37 pm

@Megan, Megan, here in the US we have both pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized cream is cream that has gone through a special extra heating that kills bacteria and enzymes. This extends the life of the cream for more than a month. Pasteurized cream does not stay fresh as long, BUT it has better flavor, whips up fluffier, and holds up longer once whipped. Yeah, the honey incident was funny…except for the fact that it took me so long to clean up and that I’m STILL finding honey spots!


Valerina February 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Wow, Coconut and orange fused into tiramisu! Brilliant. And seeing that lovely picture of the mascarpone cheese just makes me wish I had some. :D


Kelly Azuma March 1, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I’m on a diet at the moment but thankfully I still have eyes I can eat with. This is delicious! :)


Laura March 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Nice job tweaking the recipe to eliminate the coffee and alcohol. I like the idea of using orange juice as the dipping medium. I made my sabayon with meyer lemon juice and my pastry cream with coconut milk.


Olive March 16, 2010 at 8:49 am

Hi! :)

I love your version of tiramisu..coconut is my favorite, thanks for the idea :)


John June 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

I’m salivating just looking at your pictures! I thought that I had already found the ultimate Tiramisu Recipe involving my favourite liqueurs…but this is recipe definitely appeals to my sweet tooth!


Astarte April 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

There are no measurements for the whipped cream ingredients.


Michael Brandse November 5, 2011 at 4:23 am

I have a question. Since I am now living in Japan, I am having trouble finding ingredients. The savoiardi for instance. Because I have no oven, or any room for one for that matter, I am pretty much limited to finding them in stores. So far, I was fresh out of luck, primarily because I have no idea whether there is a specific name by which the Japanese know them.

If you could help me, I would be very grateful :)


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