Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adriano Zumbo 21st May, 2010

Tiramisu: hazelnut sable, flourless chocolate biscuit, mascarpone creme legere, coffee brulee, baked hazelnut creme with a shot of coffee.

I must admit, tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts of all time.
There's something irresistable about the combination of smooth mascarpone and sabayon, the soft lady fingers soaked in rich espresso and liqueur, with a liberal dusting of shaved dark chocolate.
So simple.
Tiramisu was, for 3 years, my birthday cake of choice. In fact, I refused to let my family buy a cake for that day, insisting on making my own tiramisu. It was my annual therapy. The rhythm of whisking eggs and sugar and mascarpone, the anxiety in dipping lady fingers in coffee and hoping they won't break (inevitably cringing when they do, but that's easily fixed), and slipping that little extra bit of tipple for that extra bit of flavour...then some more.
A crowd pleaser, every time. Guaranteed.
Yet, despite its simplicity, it is still butchered and slaughtered by so many. I've lost count of the times I've ordered a tiramisu and was disappointed. Some were thick, others dry. Then there are those which contained no mascarpone--only stiffly whipped cream loaded with gelatin. The final blow came when a family friend dropped off her tiramisu: a sickly yellow concoction that was overly sweet and warm. Warm!
I guess that was the main reason I bought the tiramisu from Zumbo last week, instead of the mandarin and rose (macarons and rose-flavoured food stuffs...they deserve their own stories). That last tiramisu had pushed me over the edge. I needed to be reassured that tiramisus are generally done well. And who better than Adriano Zumbo, patissier extraordinaire?
On presentation, I was not disappointed. It was an adorable thing, with the chocolate circle and disc, perfectly tempered. The baked hazelnut cream was speckled with vanilla, a tad sweet for my taste, but wonderfully nutty. The espresso shot was surprising--one to be experienced, for sure. I admit, the sable was a bit difficult, resisting attack from my fork most of the time, but it was addictive. As was the chocolate biscuit. And the mascarpone.
This has to be one of the better desserts I have tasted from Adriano Zumbo (my favourite remains the dark chocolate Sacher--wonder if it'll be available over the Queen's Birthday weekend?). Like its predecessors, it was a tad too sweet for my taste (more to do with me, love sweets, but can't have them too sweet) but the elements worked wonderfully together. So much so I'm actually looking forward to trying a few more from the current collection this time.
More overwhelmingly, I want more tiramisu now. Perhaps a trip down to Bar Italia, for the best tiramisu gelato next time I'm in town?

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