Friday, August 21, 2009

Matcha Delight

I had made plans earlier to make a tiramisu torte for a potluck party. However, it was later decided that the gathering would be at a restaurant instead, so I was left with a tub of mascarpone cheese and a pack of sponge fingers.

Just when the expiry date of the cream cheese was up, I managed to use it to make a green tea version of the Tiramisu Charlotte Cake with a new can of matcha powder.

I tweak the recipe a little to incorporate the matcha powder in the filling and the syrup for dipping the sponge fingers. When mixing the mascarpone cheese, I first experimented with one teaspoon of matcha powder. The green tea flavour was not as prominent as I like it to be. So I added in another teaspoon and the taste was just least I know my kids would be able to accept it without any complaints. However, with that extra teaspoon of matcha powder, the mixture turned grainy and I started to get worried.

I guess my 'make-believe' baking fairy has returned from holidays, after mixing the whipped cream to the mascarpone cheese mixture, the resulting filling became very smooth and the colour has changed into a nice pastel green.

Instead of using dairy cream, I made this green tiramisu with non-dairy whipping cream which is lighter and less rich.

I didn't have any idea how to go about decorating the cake. In the end, I took a small piece of baking paper and cut out some simple flowers to use as stencil. I wish I could do better with the decoration...but, with my limited skills and lack of artistic talent, I guess I would not be able to create anything better than this ;')

Although I have not tasted any green tea tiramisu before, I must say this concoction turned out to be a great dessert. So simple to prepare and yet tasted deliciously light and refreshing. All of us like the distinct matcha flavour, including my younger kid who is never a matcha fan ^-^

Matcha Tiramisu

(makes a 7" cake)

250g mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons matcha powder
200 ml non-dairy whipping cream

Matcha Syrup:
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water

about 24 sponge fingers (savoiardi)
extra matcha powder for dusting

To make the Matcha Syrup:
Dissolve matcha powder in boiling water. Leave to cool.

To make the Filling:
In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk mascarpone cheese with icing sugar and vanilla extract. Add in two teaspoons matcha powder and mix until blended.

With an electric mixer whisk the non-dairy whipping cream until stiff peak. With a spatula, fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture.

To assemble the cake:
Cut off one end of the sponge fingers so that each one is about 3" in length. Line the sides of a 7" round baking pan* (with a removable base or use a springform pan) with the sponge fingers. You will need about 17 sponge fingers (depending on the type/brand). If the last sponge finger cannot fit in nicely, trim away part of it to fit it in. Save the leftover small pieces.

One at a time, gently dip (do not soak) sponge fingers in the matcha syrup and use them to line the base of the pan. Or you can use a brush to brush the sponge fingers with the matcha syrup. Cut the sponge fingers into shorter lengths if necessary. Use the leftover pieces to fill the gaps.

Spoon over half of the filling. Spread evenly. Repeat with another layer of sponge fingers and spoon over the remaining filling. Spread and smooth the top. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best left overnight.

Just before serving, unmold the cake and dust the top with matcha powder.

*If you do not have a springform pan or a pan with a removable base, you can improvise by lining a normal round pan with a large sheet of aluminium foil. Give allowance of about 1~2 inches for the foil to hang over the rim of the pan. Place a cake board inside the lined pan. Follow the steps above. To unmold, simply lift up the cake from the pan by gripping the foil. Transfer the cake onto a serving plate and carefully remove the foil.

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