Cheaper and Healthier Version Of Tiramisu To Satisfy Your Palate– Eggless Tiramisu

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INTRODUCTION

Authentic tiramisu will require mascarpone cheese, coffee, uncooked eggs, Khalua (or other coffee liquor),  castor sugar and sponge fingers. This Tiramisu uses no eggs, but coffee, Tia Maria, normal sponge cakes, condense milks and normal cream cheese. Hence, it is just like a poor man’s version of tiramisu because all the ingredients are cheaper.

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Most bakers will know that mascarpone cheese is a light and creamy cheese with a higher fat content originated from Italy. It is one of the essential ingredients in classic Italian dessert, tiramisu. It has a fat content ranging from 60% to 75% whereas normal cream cheese only have fat content of about 40% to 60%. In Singapore, a 250 gram tube of mascarpone cheese will cost about SGD 9  (SGD36 for 2 kgs) where as a 2 kgs of cream cheese will cost only about SGD18. Almost half of the price of mascarpone cheese. Besides price, it is not commonly available in developing countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Even if there is,  you will get it by paying a high price premium in top notch supermarkets.

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Sponge fingers are sold in supermarkets in Singapore but not that cheap either. A pack of 12 sponge fingers can cost SGD 3-4 and making a medium size tiramisu may require up to 2 packages of sponge fingers. Of course the use of sponge fingers in authentic tiramisu have its values. It is light and can absorb lots of liquored flavoured coffee. Sponge cake is an easy cake to make at home, utilizing only eggs, sugar and flour. If one prefer not to be bake, the supermarkets in Singapore sell an 8” diameter sponge cake for only SGD 3 or at times slightly above SGD2. In developing countries, to get and to bake sponge cake is definitely easy, but if imported sponge fingers are used, they may have to buy at a speciality supermarkets.

Updated on 13 June 2014 – If you are interested to prepare your own sponge fingers like what is commercially sold in the supermarket – you can refer to this post : Kueh Bahulu (烤鸡蛋糕)

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Uncooked eggs is not something in my cooking or baking agenda because of my two kids. I am wary of the semolina virus and food poisoning. Don’t get me wrong, the semolina virus (or salmonella virus) is nothing to do with semolina flour used in making of sugee cake and nan khatai Indian short bread cookies, it is a type of virus present in uncooked eggs (particularly egg yolks) that can cause stomach upset and landed you to the hospital! While the traditional method of egg separation method in preparing tiramisu definitely resulted in a lighter texture, I would definitely be able to forgo such texture for the sake of my family members’ health.

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Therefore, it comes to my mind that I want to prepare a simple easy tiramisu alike desserts to share with all. The first thing that come to my mind is to substitute mascarpone cheese with normal cream cheese for cost and lower fat content reasons. In addition, I have opted to have an eggless version for health reasons. The third is the use of simple sponge cake to replace sponge fingers for both cost and availability reasons. The output it is definitely worth the try and I have objectively analyse in the conclusion section.

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In this recipe, I have decided to present my tiramisu design for a party setting  by putting it in small dessert cups. I do not like the way it was served in a big container.. I have also prepared some for my kids that uses chocolate malt drink for the sponges instead of coffee liquor. The post will have two main sections: preparing the traditional sponge cake and the post proper, tiramisu itself.

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CLASSIC SPONGE CAKE


This is a basic sponge cake recipe utilizing 6 eggs. It is a rather big cake. For purposes of tiramisu alone, you can adjust to prepare a smaller cake using 3 eggs. I have purposely prepare a bit more for my breakfast and for contingency purposes. If you are preparing using 3 eggs, please halve all the quantities stated in this section. You can bypass this section if you intend to buy the ready made sponge cake.

WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 6 eggs
  • 150 grams of self raising flour
  • 75 grams of plain flour
  • 220 grams of castor sugar

STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre-preparation

  • Line an 8” inch square baking tin with baking paper or lightly grease the tin;

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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  • In a machine whisk or hand whisk, beat the eggs until thick and pale

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  • Shift the flour into the eggs, quickly fold it into the beaten eggs.

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  • Transfer to a lightly greased 8” square baking tin or baking tin lined with parchment paper, bake at 180 degree Celsius for 25 minutes.

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EGGLESS TIRAMISU 


Servings : about 12 medium size dessert cups

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  • 250 grams of cream cheese at room temperature (low fat cream cheese can be considered)
  • 100 grams of condense milk
  • 1 cup of normal whip cream

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  • Adequate cocoa powder for dusting (about half cup)
  • 1/2 cup of coffee liquor of your choice (Baileys, Tia Maria, Khalua, or just pure brandy or whisky) – optional if you are alcohol sensitive
  • 3 cups of strong coffee (2 tablespoon of instant coffee in 3 cups of water)
  • 3 cups of strong chocolate malt drinks (for kids version)

Others : 12 dessert cups


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre-preparation

  • Get ready 12 dessert cups

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  • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream until stiff. Transfer to a container and set aside for later use.

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  • Use the same mixing bowl to beat the cream cheese and condense milk. Beat until light and creamy (no lump noted).

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  • Fold the whipped cream to the cream cheese lightly until it is well mix. Set aside for next step’s assembling.

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  • Add 1 cup of coffee liquor with 3 cups of coffee.

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  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of coffee to the sponge cake and let the sponge cake absorb the coffee until the sponge cake is brown in colour. Add in one to two tablespoons of cream cheese followed by another layer of coffee soaked sponge cake. Top the remaining portion of the cup with another layer of cream cheese. Dust the top generously with cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least one hour for the cream cheese is firm and flavour to develop.

  • For kids friendly version, just soak the sponges with chocolate malt drinks without caffeine and alcohol.

IMG_9763Kids friendly version of Tiramisu


CONCLUSION

The post may appear to be very long but the procedures are very simple. It is definitely a healthier alternative than the classic version for the reasons that it is eggless and utilization of lower fat content cream cheese as the alternatives.

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In term of taste, I will say it is at least 80%-90% similar. An objective brief analysis is as follows

  • Creaminess – less creamy as compare to traditional tiramisu because of lower fat content;

  • Overall texture – More dense because no eggs were used to support the beaten cream cheese;

  • Texture of sponge – more dense because sponge cake is more compact as compare to sponge fingers.

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Overall verdict: I wouldn’t hesitate to serve my guest this version for the reasons of healthier, less costly and easily available ingredients. The enjoyment forgone is minimal, in my humble opinion.

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Updated post on 13 June 2013

While I am craving for some Tiramisu, i have decided my homemade sponge “fingers” to substitute the sponge cake as mentioned in the post. The taste is equally good or not better than the commercial sponge fingers. If you are interested to make your own sponge fingers, you can refer to this post: Kueh Bahulu (烤鸡蛋糕)

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Vege Vege Vegetable Fritters–Indonesian’s Bakwan Sayuran

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INTRODUCTION

Vegetable fritter is  rather international. Almost all international cuisines will have some form of vegetable fritters. It is a  very common food item in South East Asian countries. Be it called bakwan sayuran (Indonesia), vegetable tempura (Japan), parkosa (India) or just vegetable fritters. Packed with vegetables, it can be as healthy as you want it. You can oven baked, pan fried or deep fried. Depending on which cuisine’s vegetable fritters, the dips can also be significantly different.

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WHY THIS DISH

I am having my yearly vegetarian 1-1.5 months and I am looking for some vegetarian dishes. In addition, I am preparing this dish in response to the monthly challenge organized by a Google plus food community.

This recipe is not my household recipe but an Indonesian vegetable fritter recipe obtained from Ms Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran However, I have modified to suit my family’s taste buds.

I concurred with Ms Karin that vegetable fritter recipe has lots of flexibility especially the choice of vegetables. Ms Karin had written in Google communities that “We can make fritters out of everything. Sometimes with something as lame as cabbage and a bunch of leftover vegetables (just avoid wet ones like tomatoes)”.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adopted from  Ms. Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran.

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  • 150 g of jicama (shredded)
  • 150 g of French beans (cut into small pieces)
  • 100 g of bean sprouts
  • 50 g of red carrots (shredded)
  • 50 g of peanuts

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  • 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of salts
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 125 g of rice flour
  • 125 g of wheat flour
  • 200 ml of plain water
  • 5 cups of cooking oil for frying


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big bowl, assemble all ingredients together;
  • Add in coriander powder, sugar, salt, white pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  • Add in flour (rice flour and wheat flour) and water. Stir until all the ingredients are coated with the batter.

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  • In a big pan, heat the cooking oil. The oil is considered as ready when you insert a chopstick or other wooden object into the hot oil, bubbles started to emit.
  • Put few tablespoons of batter at a time and deep fried until golden brown. You will have to keep a close eye during your frying process to ensure that your batter is not too big (otherwise it will be difficult to get cooked) and your oil temperature should not be overly hot (meaning exterior to start to get burnt and inside may not be cooked). In that case, you have to turn the heat to medium or small, it make take a bit longer but once you note that the colour start to turn golden, switched to high heat for high heat and immediately take it out. This will prevent the oil from going back to the batter!
  • Drain the fritters in oil absorbing paper.

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  • Let it cool and serve with your preferred dips.

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VARIATIONS

There are many variations to this dish. You can add in any vegetables of your choice such as Entoki mushrooms, cauliflowers and the list is endless.

Method of cooking, beside deep frying, can also be pan fried or oven baked. Though oven baked and pan fried version will not be that crispy, it is healthier and equally delicious.

Spices used can also change to include cardamom, cumin seeds, turmeric powder if you preferred.

Dips and garnishes have lots of flexibility. For my kids, I have some mayonnaise and tomato sauces which become thousand island dressings. For adults we have like to home made chilli sauce. Original Indonesian fried fritters like to go with fresh chilli or cabit as they called it. You can also garnish with cucumber or tomato slices to negate the slight greasiness of the dish!

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CONCLUSIONS

  • A simple and easy to do dish that is packed with vegetables and can be as healthy as you want it to be . It is a vegetarian dish suitable for all age groups.
  • A full flexibility dish that can be tailored to meet your family taste buds including types of vegetables, spices used, method of cooking dips and garnishes.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.



I am submitting this post to the Monthly Challenge organized by Google Plus Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia – Cuisine Communities in response of Ms. Karin’s Bakwan Sayuran (Vegetable Fritters)  post in her Karin’s Recipe blog. 

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