Friday, August 3, 2007

Tiramisu Brownie

Tiramisu Brownie

The idea of a tiramisu brownie/brownie tiramisu has been brewing in my head for a while now. I wanted the main flavor components of the brownie to be chocolate, espresso, marsala, and mascarpone but I was unsure about how to execute this idea. I debated whether I should make a fudgy or cakey brownie, if I should dip the brownies in espresso, if I should use espresso or both espresso and marsala in the brownie base, and etc. Myriam's 3rd Browniebabe Event served as the perfect occasion to play around with this idea.

One route I considered was a fudgy brownie flavored with espresso and marsala with mascapone cheese swirls. In the end I took a more traditional route and made an espresso flavored brownie, which mimics the espresso soaked ladyfingers, and layered it with a mixture of mascarpone, whipped cream, and marsala, and topped with chocolate shavings. I feared that dipping the brownie in espresso would make it too soggy and heavy since it was already a very dense, fudgy brownie (though this may work with a cakier brownie). Another possibility was to lightly brush a bit of strong coffee or espresso onto the brownie but that can be for another time. The end result was pretty to look at and delicious to eat. With so many different ideas to experiment with, all the more reason to make many more tiramisu brownies!

- I tend to make my baked goods with less sugar, so I used 6 Tbsp of sugar in the brownies instead of 1/2 C.
- You may not use all of the filling but this stuff is so delicious, you can just eat it with a spoon (I'm guilty of this).
- I skipped the raw egg yolk (traditionally added) in the filling because I didn't want to deal with it. You can also whisk the egg yolk with the marsala over a bain marie to create a zabaglione for the filling.

Tiramisu Brownies
Espresso Brownie Base
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pats
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder (or sub 2 Tbsp of Kahlua - I have not tried this)
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C AP flour
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mascarpone Filling
8 oz. mascarpone
1/2 C marsala
1/4 C sugar
1 C whipping cream

Topping: Dark chocolate

Make the brownie:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 8 x 8 baking pan with a sheet of foil to make the brownies easy to lift out. You can grease the foil but I didn't.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl over a bain marie or in a microwave on low power, about 30% (whisk between intervals to insure even heating).

Whisk in the espresso powder to the warm chocolate. Then whisk in the sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Finally add the flour and mix until just incorporated (do not overmix).

Spread the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 17 to 22 minutes. Start checking the brownies early. A toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies should come out with moist crumbs.

After the brownies are done, set them aside to cool while you make the filling.

Make the filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, sugar, and marsala until smooth.

Meanwhile in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. I like to whip it with the machine to soft peaks and then whip by hand to stiff peaks so I don't overwhip (easy to do on a KA).

Fold in about 1/3 of the cream into smooth marscarpone mixture to lighten it. Then fold the rest of the whipped cream into mascarpone. Chill the mixture until the brownies have cooled to room temp.

To serve:
It's easiest to make each serving individually since the filling will ooze out if you cut the brownie (not as soft as ladyfingers). This recipe will make 8 2in x 4in servings.

Cut the brownies into 2 x 4 rectangles. Then cut each rectangle in half horizontally so you get two layers of the brownie (top and bottom).

Add a dollop of the filling to the bottom layer, add the top layer, then add more filling on top. Smooth off the top and sides then grate some chocolate shavings on top.

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