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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Last Course: Sainsbury's Tiramisu (2-pack)

Bizarrely, despite my sweet tooth and propensity toward multiple desserts when eating out, or even when visiting friends or family, it's remarkably rare that I bother with dessert at home.


When I first moved into my flat, I used to ensure I had at least one tub of ice cream on the go in the fridge... and normally have some Activia yoghurts tucked away somewhere... but, frankly, after sorting out my dinner, I rarely have the inclination to think about pudding. Currently, my fridge contains only a few things that could be considered to be a Last Course submission, and at least a couple of them have been in the freezer compartment for about a year. I'm not kidding.

OK, if it's something that requires oven time, it's almost understandable, but if all it takes is thawing, or taking out of a cardboard box, or pulling off the plastic lid... what's the problem?

I know, it's unfathomable.

So anyway. I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was going to start wittering on about desserts, and even mentioned that I was eating one when the idea hit me. I've also been emailed a nice, simple dessert recipe (which, coincidentally, involved booze as well), so I've really got no excuse for delaying this part of the whole foodie-blogging project any longer...

Sainsbury's 2-pack Tiramisu is a miniature - supposedly single-serving, though I'd argue that - version of a full-size Tiramisu, described thusly: "2 Pots with Savoiardo biscuits soaked with coffee topped with a mascarpone and Marsala wine cream and decorated with cocoa dusting". Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I'd always assumed that the base (biscuit? Really, Sainsbury's? Looks like cake to me...) had been soaked in booze because that's where the alcohol seemed most prominent to the taste. Perhaps it was a coffee liqueur..? I hadn't suspected for a moment that the liquid component - ever present in even the finest Tiramisu slices I've been served in restaurants - was coffee, based on nothing more than its colour. It's surely a very anaemic brew if it barely discolours the base.

Nevertheless, the packaging proudly trumpets its authentically Italian origins (again making me wonder why most Pizza seems to be made in Austria these days) so one must assume its preparation is equally authentic... But then, the briefest of research suggests Sainsburys have made a small mistake in their short description - they are Savoiardi biscuits, also known as Ladyfingers. The suggestion that these things are soaked in coffee, though, still confuses me. Some recipes even call for espresso. I'm not a fan of coffee - smells nice, tastes foul - and I'd always put my tolerance for Tiramisu down to a very limited use of weak coffee... Shows what I know, eh? Or at least, that what I don't know won't offend me...

But, getting back to the point... What I tend to like about Tiramisu is the counterpointing between the bitterness of the coffee, the creaminess of the topping and the sharp note of the alcohol. It's very easy to get it wrong, however, if the balance between components is off. In the worst cases, this results in a very artificial-seeming sugary irritation at the back of the throat that can ruin the whole meal, not just dessert.

Happily, I can report that this Sainsbury's 2-pack version does not suffer this particular malady, and turned out to be quite well balanced. It's not quite layered as one might expect - it seems to have two Savoiardi biscuits stacked at the bottom, with none of the topping in between, almost making it like a trifle without the jelly layer... but such oversights in preparation can probably be overlooked when one is simply trying to stuff one's face with a creamy, sweet dessert.

Shame the pots are so small, though...

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