Indian Chai Tiramisu

“How had I never thought of making Tiramisu with Indian chai?”  That’s was my thought a couple weeks ago, as I reached for the box of Red Label tea to refill the tea canister (going though it more quickly these days!), and saw the leftover ladyfingers right there next to the tea (note to my Indian readers: the Italian kind of ladyfingers, not okra! 🙂 ).  I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since, so yesterday I finally gave it a whirl.

My plan was simply to follow my favorite Tiramisu recipe (from my friend Marta; see below), except replacing the espresso with very strong Indian chai (NOT the packaged “chai,” but chai as in Indian Tea), minus the milk, and that’s basically what I did.  The only other adjustment was that I skipped the dusting of cocoa powder on both layers, leaving room to experiment with different combinations of cocoa powder and cardamom when it came time to indulge.

drumroll please…

YUM.  Hubby enjoyed seconds lat night, but pushed to choose says he preferred the traditional version.  And I will say I think it can be more chai-y so I will try again before posting a definitive Indian Chai Tiramisu recipe.   In the meantime, I’ll share my favorite Tiramisu recipe, adjustments for my first version of Indian Chai Tiramisu, and notes for next time.  If anyone out there has tried this or wants to experiment per below, please share back your results and tips!

Marta’s Tiramisu

* 2 eggs, yolks & whites separated
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 tbsp Marsala wine
* 200 grams marscapone cheese (~.87 cups)
* 1 cup sweetened strong coffee/espresso
* 1 cup water
* 200 grams lady fingers (I use the hard kind like these)
* cocoa powder

1) Beat egg whites in mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form and they are very firm (~10 mins).
2) Beat together egg yolks and sugar in mixer, medium-to-high speed, until creamy.
3) Add marscapone cheese and Marsala wine to the sugar & yolk mixture and mix well.
4) Carefully mix the yolk/marscapone mixture into the egg whites, until creamy.
5) Dilute the cup of coffee with an equal amount of water. Quickly dip the ladyfingers in the coffee (careful not to let them get soggy), and line them on the bottom of a rectangular dish. Spread half the cream mixture over ladyfingers. Repeat layers of ladyfingers and cream until all cream has been used, ending w/ a layer of cream.
6) Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
7) Prior to serving, dust with powdered cocoa.

Indian Chai Tiramisu: Adjustments for Next Time

* Stronger Chai: Yesterday, I simply began making 2 cups of Indian chai as I would in the morning, complete with cardamom and fennel seeds, but then skipping the milk (expecting that to be strong enough w/out equal parts milk added, and also expecting the cream filling of the recipe to fill in the part of the milk).  Then, as the recipe calls for I added some water to it.  Next time I won’t add water, and will just make more tea, hoping that the tea flavor will be stronger. I will also add more cardamom seeds.

* Cardamom – I’ll dust the first layer of cream with a dusting of cardamom and a bit of cocoa powder (in a 3:1 ratio I think) and will probably do the same on the top.

* Soaking the Lady Fingers – I usually just dip them into the espresso pretty quickly, but I think next time I will dip them a smidgeon longer, just to get them almost soaked through, but nowhere near soggy.

* Photo! – I’m not very good at taking pics of the stuff I cook, and for the purposes of this blog, I need to get better at that.  I’d take one now, but half the recipe is in a container in the freezer (first time trying that), and the other half is now only 2 bites worth, having devoured it for dessert last night with hubby, and for a midmorning snack a bit ago.  mmmmm

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