European cuisine is primarily led by French, Greek, Spanish and Italian cuisine when it comes to lay people. I agree. Long before I became ‘culinarily’ open to different palates, these four mega cuisines dominated my knowledge of European cuisine and actually, culture as well.
I’ve made food from the said cuisines and have had a liking for the type of food they create. For this Gourmet Sunday, the beautiful country of Italy became the inspiration. I saw to it to stay away from the stereotypical connotation of pasta when it comes to Italian food. I decided to make a meat dish, specifically pork to make the dinner heavy but with protein. Modenese pork chops became the main protein for the dinner. Cooked in white wine, garlic and rosemary, the flavors were simple yet refined however, I think I might have overdone the sauce and made the wine component evaporate too much which left me with oil rather than a sauce. The meat was tender knowing that pork chop is a pretty lean cut of pork. Oh, and the wine I used was Italian white wine which was I think appropriate for an Italian dinner (Just between the two of us, I sort of got tipsy from the frequent wine tasting while cooking).
To replace the typical Filipino white rice, I paired the meat with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and panzanella salad. My brother said that the roasted garlic mashed potatoes was the best mashed potatoes he had to date but my mother swears she makes the best. I like both, just to be safe.
Ah yes, what is dinner without dessert? I have been saving this recipe for the perfect situation and this was it! Traditionally, tiramisu is made with ladyfingers but this is a layered cake version. It may sound Japanese but it is 100% Italian. The tiramisu torte looked intimidating to do if you’re the kind of cook who looks at the recipe first and judging the length of the recipe rather than understanding the process. But in reality, it only took me a day to whip this baby up. I had most of the ingredients in the pantry except for one thing, mascarpone cheese. I have never seen mascarpone in any of the supermarkets here so I had no choice but to look for a substitute and guess what? Mixing two whole bars of cream cheese with a third of a cup of sour cream and quarter cup of heavy cream gives you this hard-to-find essential ingredient for a tiramisu. That said, I cannot say I made an authentic tiramisu since I did not use authentic mascarpone but my oh my, this tiramisu torte was just divine! It was the perfect end for an Italian Gourmet Sunday. It was not too sweet compared to the usual cakes I make but it was a welcome change. I made use of Bacardi for the rum. Yum! This will be made again but will the real mascarpone please show up?
For the next Gourmet Sunday, check out the menu below:
Here’s the lowdown – my brother said that this roasted garlic mashed potatoes were the best. I say you’ve got to make this tiramisu torte! Please!
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from an unrecalled source
1 whole bulb of garlic, top cut off
1/4 cup olive oil
7 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place the garlic in the middle of an aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, shaping the foil like a purse to hold the oil in with the garlic. Seal the foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water.
Place the roasted garlic, milk, cheese and butter into a bowl with the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
Adapted from an unrecalled source
Makes a 9-inch round layered cake
For the cake:
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons dark rum (I used Bacardi)
For the filling:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
500g mascarpone cheese (see note for substitute)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
For the topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat egg whites until foamy, gradually adding 1/4 cup of sugar until glossy and stiff peaks form.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, egg yolks, water and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat at high speed until thick and lemon-colored, about 5-6 minutes). Gently stir in flour and baking powder by hand. Fold in yolk mixture into the egg whites.
Pour into pans and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean or top springs back when touched. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely.
To make the syrup: Bring to full boil the sugar, water and coffee. Boil for 1 minute then stir in rum. Cool completely.
To make the filling: Stir together powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese and vanilla. Stir in grated chocolate.
To make the topping: Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Continue beating and gradually add 2 tablespoons of the syrup until stiff peaks form.
To assemble: Cut the layers in half, making 4 layers in total. Brush the cut sides generously with the remaining syrup.Place 1 layer syrup-side up. Spread 1/3 of the filling and repeat the layering. Place the last layer with the syrup-side down. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread the coffee-flavored whipped cream on top and at the sides of the cake. Dust the top with some cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
NOTE: If you don’t have mascarpone cheese available, you can mix 16 ounces of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup heavy cream together. It yields perfectly as required by the Tiramisu Torte recipe above.