Saturday, February 26, 2005

on tiramisu

How are you supposed to pronounce this, anyway? Tear-a-meee-soo, even stresses on all the syllables? teer-AH-me-soo, stress on the second syllable? That's how I say it.

The most important thing about tiramisu (no matter how you pronounce it) is the balance between the sweetened mascarpone cheese and the espresso-moistened lady fingers (or sponge cake). Too much of either one is a not a good thing, but when in balance, the combination is just divine -- of course retraint must be used when dusting with cocoa powder as well. Tiramisu should not taste like chocolate. It is not a chocolate dessert. The cocoa powder is an accent, not a dominant flavor.

The tiramisu from La Stalla last night was disappointing in that, for all its overly generous portion, it was disproportionate. Way too much marscapone, far too few lady fingers. And the lady fingers that were there were not gently holding their lovely espresso, ready to yeild to the tongue -- no, they had been drenched, leaving me with a puddle of espresso in the bottom of the dish.

The final indignity was over-zealousness with the cocoa powder shaker. An inadvertant inhalation too close to the dessert could lead to a coughing fit; it's hard to clear cocoa powder from your lungs.

So it was a disappointment and I didn't finish it last night, mostly because of how overwhelming the mascarpone was. None of these faults will deter me from polishing the remains of it off today, however!

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