We had good friends over for dinner recently and I made an Indian extravaganza (all posted recipes but I’ll repeat them below). I wanted something a little different because I’d already made Chai Crème Brûlée and Gulab Jamun. I’ve always wanted to bake Lady Fingers and that’s how I landed on Chai Tiramisu. We feasted on the Indian food and then retired to the living room to enjoy the wood fire and dessert; our guests must have enjoyed the dessert because after they’d decided they had had enough and rested the half-eaten plates on the coffee table, they kept picking them up for ‘just one more bite’, eventually finishing off the entire plate. Now THAT makes me happy.
It’s not overly sweet and the chai comes through from the chai liquor soaked lady fingers. The ricotta and Greek yogurt combo makes it slightly less rich than the mascarpone version which was good considering the heaviness of the meal; I would definitely make it again even with the home-made ladyfingers, but if you’re tight for time, the store bought Italian ladyfingers would certainly do the trick.
Chai Tiramisu and Homemade Ladyfingers
Makes approx 1 loaf pan 23 cm x 13 cm (9″ x 5″) tiramisu.
Makes about 36 small lady fingers
Roughly based my recipe on this recipe, but I reduced volumes and I changed the method for egg whites
- 2 eggs, room temperature, separated
- 4 tbsp sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 42 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F (176° C). Generously butter and flour a lady finger molded tray or a cookie sheet.
- Beat egg whites with 2 tbsp sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, set aside.
- Beat egg yolks with remaining 2 tbsp sugar and vanilla extract until pale in colour but not ribbons.
- Gently fold in the egg whites being careful not to deflate. Carefully sift the flour into the egg mixture and fold even more carefully so as not to deflate but making sure all the flour is well incorporated.
- Using a lady finger molded baking tray, or piping the batter into long fingers
- Bake for 12 minutes, allow to cool completely in pan and gently coax out to remove.
Ingredients for Chai liquor (see note):
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 2 short cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 8-10 cloves
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5 cm fresh vanilla bean
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 tsp Pastis (or any anise flavoured liquor such as Ouzo or Anisette)
Directions for Chai liquor:
- Add milk and all of the spices except the vanilla bean to a small saucepan and stir well.
- Scrape seeds out of the vanilla bean and add both bean and seeds to the saucepan. Heat slowly to infuse the milk with the chai flavours, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool, strain through a coarse sieve to allow vanilla seeds to remain in infused milk. Stir in Pastis. Set aside for assembly.
Ingredients for the Ricotta Cream and Chai Sugar:
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (See note)
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp icing sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp cardamon
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 1/4 cup, roughly chopped pistachios, toasted
Directions for the Cream and Chai Sugar:
- Combine ricotta, yogurt, orange rind and 2 tbsp icing sugar and whip until fluffy.
- Combine 1 tbsp icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon and cocoa and mix well.
Directions for Assembly:
- Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Dip each end of the ladyfingers into the chai liquor and line the loaf pan with them. Spread one third of the cream mixture over top, sprinkle with the chai sugar. Repeat 2 more times.
- Refrigerate overnight. About 90 minutes before serving, place in the freezer for so it’s easy to slice. Remove after 1 hour and slice into portions. Sprinkle some of the chai sugar on each plate, carefully place each slice in the centre of the plate, allow to sit for 30 minutes so it’s not overly cold. Serve with sprinkled pistachios.
- On using ricotta over mascarpone: I chose ricotta for two reasons, first is calories, this dessert made with ricotta is less than half the calories than using the richer mascarpone and two is budget, for some bizarre reason, mascarpone was $15 for about the same size of a $4 ricotta tub.
- Feel free to use a chai tea bag to infuse the milk and omit all of the other spices, although I would still add the vanilla bean and seeds and the Anise liquor. Do not squeeze the tea bag otherwise you will have bitter chai liquor.
- This dessert is best if it sits overnight in the fridge.
- Although it is tempting to spray the ladyfinger pan with a non-stick spray, it will NOT WORK. Butter it generously and dust with flour. Each pan must be washed and rebuttered.
Palek Paneer Carrot Pickle and Mango Chutney Best Naan Ever Aloo Papri Chat Beef Buhna Paneer Makhani Baked Onion Bahjis Jamie Olivers Chicken Tikka Masala (by far our favourite Indian Recipe) Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup Gulab Jamun Matar Paneer