La Dolce Vita

Have you ever studied for finals for half a year (for your sake I hope not)? Towards the end, all you’re looking forward to is that one day, the first day of freedom in which your brain can just turn into a sponge. And then once it’s arrived, within a few hours after having cleaned up all of the papers, books, empty bowls and coffee mugs that accumulated around your desk and in the whole apartment over the past months, you can finally sit down and relax. Well, that would be the idea. But seriously, who can go from 110% to 0% within a day? I can’t. I start getting fidgety and feel like you should be doing something.

Because my brain wasn’t quite at the “let’s go read yet another book, but this time for fun” stage yet and also wasn’t in the mood to drink my state of agitation away (although a few days later my brain came to it’s senses and decided to excessively drink itself into a relaxed/somnolent state…. man 6 months of almost complete abstinence kills your tolerance :-P), I channeled my energy into the kitchen (where else…?). Based upon a tub of mascarpone left in the fridge, I decided to attempt a classic italian dinner. Bruschetta, risotto, saltimbocca and a lemony tiramisu. Buon appetito!

Bruschetta

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The Battle of Mascarpone and Other Tales from the Tiramisu Wars

While working at an oh-so-career-relevant summer job, I inadvertently found myself in the midst a tiramisu war. It all started when one of my friends naively asked a lady for the recipe of the strawberry tiramisu she had brought to the office. Mistake. I believe that her genuine request must have sounded something like this to this lady: “I want to steal ALL your tiramisu secrets and challenge you to the ultimate tiramisu bake(?)-off MWAHAHAHAHA”. People can get greedy over recipes, but this was extreme; on the spot, the lady publicly announced that my friend would attempt to emulate her tiramisu and bring it the following week so we could all compare. Much to her chagrin, the recreation far exceeded its predecessor and thus war broke out. We suddenly had a middle-aged German lady bringing in to work exorbitant amounts of tiramisus with strange twists, violently stuffing them in our mouths, just in order to proclaim “OH ABER SEE! IT EES ALL FINEESHED. EET WAS SEEMPLY ZEE BEST ONE YET!”.

The saddest part was that none of them were particularly good. Call me a skeptic, but I don’t really believe in putting fruit in tiramisu. One of the highlights was an “apricot tiramisu” which had a top layer of apricot goo that oxidized, turning into a delicious-looking diarrhea-inspired brown. There’s nothing more devastating than having to throw away almost an entire case of tiramisu, but it was honest-to-God inedible. We advertised it to colleagues from nearby offices, who would hurry along excitedly at the promise of an Italian treat and, upon taking a look, would suddenly go “oooooh, I’ll just have a bit… I’m on a diet really”.  After having tried a plethora of different tiramisus (plural of tiramisu anyone?) I came across this traditional and simple, yet impeccable recipe.

The key is the mascarpone – no matter what you’re told, do not substitute with quark, Philadelphia or let yourself be tempted to engage in any other soft-cheese shenanigans. Tiramisu is made with mascarpone. Punkt. Having said that, the beauty of this recipe lies in its flexibility: you can adjust the alcohol, sugar and coffee levels to your taste. It is simply victorious.

Tiramisu

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