So it's dessert week on the Bake Off (which basically makes it national dessert week as far as I'm ceoncerned) and I love love love dessert. I'm one of those people who can always find room for pudding and have been known to go out for food and skip the main course entirely just to have an enormous dessert all to myself (although some restaurants seem to get extremely annoyed when I skip straight to the dessert menu, they will let you do it). To say I'm excited about dessert week would definitely be an understatement.
I don't actually make showstopping desserts very often at home (although who does, really?) and usually stick to cupcakes but I was excited to have a go this week. I was worried about not creating something different enough to my usual cake recipes so asked a few people when a cake becomes a dessert and the best answer came from my mother who informed me that "if you eat it with a spoon, it's dessert but if you eat it with a fork then it's cake." Wise words mum.
So I thought this week I'd share with you a little twist on my all time favourite dessert - tiramisu. Its got cake, enormous helpings of cream, coffee and booze, and I defy anyone to tell me that it isn't the best dessert in the world (although don't get me started on shop bought tiramisu, it's an absolute disgrace). It's very rich and not for the faint hearted (or anyone watching their waist line) but its packed with flavour and pretty simple to assemble. And if you need to make a virgin one you can just leave out the alcohol and replace it with extra coffee.
In true Bake Off spirit, I wanted to challenge myself a little with this recipe so I've made my caramel sauce from scratch. If you don't have the time or don't feel like attempting dealing with melting sugar any caramel dessert sauce would do just fine as a substitute.
Will you be joining in with dessert week? Leave a comment and let me know! And don't forget to visit #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff Facebook page to see everyone else's amazing recipes.
(makes approx 4 desserts, depending on the size of your containers)
300ml double cream
200g soft cheese
1 packet of sponge fingers
100ml strong cold coffee
4 tablespoons of Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)
4 tablespoons of dark rum
A bottle of caramel sauce or to make your own:
200g brown sugar
250ml whole milk
A pinch of salt
If you want to make your caramel sauce from scratch, you'll need to do this at least an hour or two ahead of making the rest of the dessert or the day before, if you don't fancy it or are in a hurry, just skip the next two paragraphs. I actually found it really rewarding though and its not difficult as such, it just requires time and your absolute undivided attention.
The caramel is pretty time sensitive so you'll want to start by warming up the milk (in the microwave is fine) and then setting aside so its ready as soon as you need it - just try not put it anywhere it'll get too cold, you need it to be as hot as possible for this. In a large saucepan gently heat the sugar, after about 5 minutes you should see it starting to melt and at this point you need to watch it very carefully and keep stirring (very gently) to keep it from burning. The trick with this step really is patience, just heat and stir gradually and you won't have any problems, it will melt eventually, just wait.
Once the sugar has melted remove it from the hob and pour in half the milk - keep stirring as you do this - then when its combined well stir in the rest. Don't worry if it looks quite thin at this point! Some of the sugar may have hardened back up into little blobs while you were adding the milk, again, don't worry if this happens, just put it back over a really low heat again and stir until they dissolve. Once again patience is key here, it took a good five minutes of stirring for my caramel to smooth back out but you just have to perserve. Once you're happy with it, remove from the heat and whisk in your pinch of salt then pop in the fridge for a couple of hours to thicken up.
To make the tiramisu first whip together the cheese and double cream until it holds its shape (I'd suggest using an electric whisk if you have one!) then fold in half of the coffee, kahlua and rum along with 3-4 tablespoons of caramel. In a small bowl mix the rest of the wet ingredients together. You're now ready to start assembling!
There are two ways to create the sponge layer, depending on how messy you want to get! Either create a layer of sponge fingers and drip the coffee/booze mix over the top or dip the sponges into the bowl - I prefer this way but you do need to work pretty quickly because if they get too wet they will just fall apart! Over your first layer of sponge pour one-two teaspoons of caramel sauce then a couple of tablespoons of cream. Carry on layering like this until you're filled your dish or run out of ingredients, ending with a large helping of cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce (my drizzle did become more of a splodge while it was setting and I'd probably be going home for that if this was the real Bake Off but I still think they looked pretty good.) Finally, if you have any patience left at this point, put your desserts back into the fridge for an hour or two to set before serving.