“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
George Bernard Shaw

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu CharlotteA Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte. Another personal challenge that has been a few years coming, and amazingly enough achieved early in the year. If the Tea Rose Fondant Cake from scratch wasn’t achievement enough, the Charlotte was a daunting milestone to reach. I made this for my SILs birthday earlier this month.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Way back in Feb 2010 Aparna & I co-hosted the Daring Baker challenge, inviting the team to make Tiramisu from scratch  saviordi {lady fingers} zabaglione, mascarpone … the works  What a strange coincidence that I should post this today. I didn’t get a chance to do the DB challenge this month, yet repeated an earlier one!

I really had loved doing that challenge. I did several versions of the tiramisu, made a tiny little charlotte too the flavours were traditional  coffee {my favourite choice of flavour in dessert}. At the time, I was blown away by the creativity of the daring bakers, especially one by Vera @ Baking Obsession.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Vera’s blog is inspirational, amazing, beautiful. Her fondant cakes are masterpieces in themselves; creations that dreams are made of! The Candied Kumquat Tiramisu has remained etched in my memory.

Kumquats KumquatsEvery winter, once the first kumquats {or tangerines as we call them, OR calamondis as Sangeeta rightly figured out} make an appearance on my little shrub, I wonder if I dare to emulate her creation.

Candied kumquatsI made Kumquat Marmalade in early January. This year I have decided to push myself to try and do stuff that I have long thought of doing. Since I had candied kumquats the previous day, the dessert seemed rather doable. It was a tall order, but well worth all the time and effort.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte I went a step further and decided to make a charlotte. Read the number of steps and you’ll get daunted! It certainly was a ‘challenge‘ I placed before myself. So many different components and steps that threatened to confuse.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte The laptop was constantly being referred to, notes being made, substitutions being updated. A TIRING exercise, one that made me look at myself skeptically. Why do I punish myself with such grueling stuff? In the end, pure joy!

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte I did everything on one morning. If you are up for a challenge like this, please be smarter than me. Make the savioardi several days before. Do the zabaglione and pastry cream a day before. To be honest, the thermomix took all the work out of the zabaglione and pastry cream, but still.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Maybe because the daughter was at home with fever, and constantly hungry! Maybe just the process appeared tiring and an uphill one. The good thing is that it’s a great make ahead dessert cake.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Imagine the joy of waking up to unmold a beautifully set cake, everything perfect. All one needs to do is to unmold it, transfer it to the dessert plate, top it with fruits and give it a quick brushing of apricot jam or honey.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte The taste? Unbelievable! I braced myself for even the slightest hint of egginess given all the eggs, yolks that the pastry cream and zabaglione and the savoiardi had. Not the faintest of egginess. Just pure tiramisu luxury in every bite.

Urban Dazzle CeramicsDo you see all these little white ceramic bowls {and the precious little creamer}? They form part of sets of ceramic ware from Urban Dazzle which I received recently. I fell in love with all the white. They hold so much promise, and make for simple props too. Look out for them in the near future!

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Back to the tiramisu … The filling was stable, beautifully set; the cake such a joy to slice. It tasted beautiful, and worth every bit of frenzied hard work. It’s one dessert that gives you so much culinary school basic practice.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte Mascarpone from scratch, piping skills, savioardi, pastry cream, zabaglione, candying, assembling … many basic skills covered to make one Italian classic which is well loved. On hindsight, I could have trimmed the fingers slightly.

Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte 9″ meant a good sized cake, but also meant just one layer of sponge fingers within. Had I made more fingers I could have achieved a more characteristic tiramisu. That’s just notes for next time, but I was very pleased with the overall result. Fab light charlotte, perfectly set, sweetness just right and beautiful fruity flavours.Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte

Do you have any culinary must-do’s set for the year? I’m already dreaming of a few! Madeleines is one of them; financiers another. Not challenging bakes, but things on my list-to-do! Oh and a sticky toffee pudding too. So much yumminess that it makes the year ahead feel sweet.  Is there something you might like to see on PAB?

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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