Tiramisu Cheesecake

I love, love, love the Tiramisu Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. We went to a friend’s house for dinner last night, and I offered to bring dessert. It was “Friday Night Pizza Night” so an Italian dessert was a must! What better time to try to make Tiramisu Cheesecake?! I made one batch of ladyfingers, but they shrunk a little waiting to go into the oven, so I could have used a few more. However, they were surprisingly easy to make. And it was my first time making a meringue, which I was also shocked at the simplicity of! The cheesecake was fantastic, everyone loved it. I couldn’t have picked a better dessert! Next time I’ll practice decorating, maybe get some chocolate covered espresso beans for the top?

Ladyfingers
Adapted from Joy of Baking
1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour, sifted
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated white sugar
Powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar for dusting the tops of the cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. To make the piping of the cookies easier, use a pencil and ruler to divide the parchment paper into three – 3 inch (7.5 cm) rows, with about 1 inch (2.54 cm) between rows. Have ready a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) round tip.

In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) white sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3 tablespoons (36 grams) white sugar and whip until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and, holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter into 3 inch (7.5 cm) long ladyfingers, using the lines drawn on the parchment paper as your guide. Pipe the batter leaving about a 1 inch (2.54 cm) space between the cookies.

When you have piped all the cookies, place the powdered sugar in a wire strainer, and lightly sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but barely browned and are still spongy when pressed with a finger.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and slide the parchment paper from the baking sheets onto a wire rack. Let the ladyfingers cool for a few minutes and release them from the parchment paper, with a flat spatula, while they are still warm. If you left them completely cool before removing them from the parchment they stick and hard to remove without breaking. Finish cooling the ladyfingers on the wire rack before using or storing. If you are not using the ladyfingers right away, freeze them. Ladyfingers stale very quickly unless they are soaked in a liquid. To store, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.

Tiramisu Cheesecake
adapted from All Recipes
1 batch ladyfingers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
5 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese (I found Tiramisu style that had coffee added), softened
1 cup white sugar
10 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
2 eggs
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a pan of water on the bottom of oven. Crush the ladyfingers to fine crumbs. Mix the melted butter into the crumbs. Moisten with 5 tablespoons of the coffee liqueur. Press into a 9 inch springform pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until very smooth. Add 10 tablespoons coffee liqueur, and mix. Add the eggs and the flour; mix SLOWLY until just smooth. The consistency of the mascarpone can vary. If the cheesecake batter is too thick, add a little cream. Do not overmix at this point. Pour batter into crust. Place pan on middle rack of oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Open oven door, and turn off the heat. Leave cake to cool in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let it finish cooling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Chocolate Ganache
adapted from All Recipes
1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons coffee flavored liqueur

Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the liqueur. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.

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