Temple Rome offers many fun activities for students to register for that further introduce them to the culture of Italy. There are weekly Calcetto Nights where teams of students play football with local Italians, the Tiramisu Extravaganza where teams of students compete for the title of best tiramisu makers, Wine Tasting Night where students learn about the process of wine making (and of course get to sample some different wines), and weekly cooking classes where small groups of students learn how to make traditional Italian dishes in a local home. I plan on participating in all of the events, but the first I went to was the Tiramisu Extravaganza. We met in the student lounge on campus after class and picked numbers to divide us into three teams in preparation for some friendly competition. Each team had a teacher that was familiar with making tiramisu. I liked that the teams were randomly picked because I got to meet some new people that I didn’t have class with. After introducing ourselves to our teammates, we started preparing the tiramisu!
We started by separating the eggs, mixing sugar into the egg yolks, and mixing them on high for several minutes. Then we added mascarpone cheese into our yolk and sugar mixture, whipped the egg whites so they were smooth and fluffy, and gently folded the egg whites into the mascarpone and yolk mixture to make the cream. Folding the components of the cream together gently is a vital part of making a good tiramisu. Meanwhile, we combined espresso and rum into a baking dish. Even though the recipe that all three teams were following was the same, there was a lot of room for variation, so all of our tiramisus turned out a little differently. Our team decided to go a little light on the espresso and a little heavy on the rum. We dipped lady fingers in the espresso and rum and laid them out on the thin layer of cream. The trick is to dip them in quickly so that they don’t get soggy. Then, we layered the cream on top, added another layer of ladyfingers, and topped the tiramisu off with another layer of cream. To decorate, we decided to be a little resourceful and cut a stencil out of one of our recipe sheets and sprinkle cocoa powder over it to spell ROMA on top of our tiramisu. Then, it was off to the refrigerator to chill! Traditionally, the tiramisu should stay in the refrigerator for several hours, but we didn’t have that kind of time, so ours only chilled for about 10 minutes. After all the teams were finished, it was time for the judging! Two Temple Rome professors served as judges and sampled a taste of all of our tiramisus. After some intense deliberating, they picked ours as the winner! They liked that ours was light on the espresso, but it all depends of the taste of the person eating the tiramisu. After the judging came the best part—trying all of the different tiramisus at the end! I’m not usually a coffee lover, but I liked all of the tiramisus I tried that night!
If you want to see more of the Tiramisu Extravaganza, you can also check out the live video that Gianni, the Temple Rome Student Affairs Assistant, posted on the Temple Rome Facebook Page.