Italians, please do not read this, since this is not an old classic I am making. Everyone else – just enjoy. Ok, let me explain the story about the Italians. I went to a creative house week in Marche, Italy last year together with 3 other Latvian chefs. There were also Italian chefs. We cooked and cooked all week, and then there was this grand dinner where each of us had to make a dish. I chose small local la fava do fratte rosa. In Marche, they usually eat fava beans raw with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. My idea was different. I wanted to make them blanched with some pan fried salsiccia and serve them with basil from the garden and walnuts. You should have seen the look at this woman’s face. The shock, the expression of “what the hell are you doing?” We talked about my recipe, and she was shocked that someone could change their simple way of eating them raw with oil to something else. It was not just a shock but it was the triple “why” question that shot me with arrows. I remember one of the chefs making lamb tartare. And I do remember the faces of the locals when they heard this. For most of them, it was a first time experience (and no, they were not 20 years old) and they were afraid to try it, but they absolutely loved it. Being in situations like this all the time in Italy, I do think that most Italians would prefer the original tiramisu recipe, and that is why I started the text like that, because this, obviously, is not a traditional tiramisu and it does not have to be. There are times in life when you do not need to make classics and make room for something a bit more different, like this one. I love how the quail eggs work with the brown sugar (I did buy it in Italy) and then with rest of the ingredients.
200 ml strong espresso
30 ml Drambuie liquor
12 organic or free range quail eggs*
100 g cane sugar extra moist and more dark than light (I used BIO Integrale from Coop)
500 g mascarpone
1/3 tonka bean, finely grated
1 orange zest, finely grated
100 ml whipping cream
200 g lady finger cookies
60 g dark chocolate, finely chopped or coarsely grated
cacao powder for decorating
In a bowl, mix the Drambuie with coffee. In a bowl, whip eggs with sugar until they are nice and frothy. In a separate bowl, slowly whip the mascarpone, tonka and orange zest, just to loosen it. While motor is still running, slowly add whipping cream. Whisk until it is creamy but can hold its shape. Fold the egg mixture into the mascarpone.
In the bottom of the serving bowl, spread a bit of the cream. Soak the cookies in coffee and arrange on the cream. Top with some chocolate pieces and one more layer of cream. Sprinkle cacao powder on top and refrigerate for at least 4 h to let the flavors meld. Before serving, sprinkle some cacao powder and serve.
* Use only the freshest eggs – if you have any doubts, don’t use them. You can replace with 2 egg yolks.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s