I’ve struggled with perfectionism to some degree or another for most of my life. In middle school, my perfectionism became nearly obsessive compulsive: I would trace over the letters on my homework to make sure they were all the same height, and if a line seemed to be slanting up or down, I’d white it out and rewrite it, sometimes even multiple times. Thankfully(?), the sheer amount of work assigned in high school more or less demanded that I let go of that particular obsession, but my perfectionism always seems to find other ways to manifest itself.
Case in point: writing a food blog. There are just so many things to obsess over: the recipes themselves, the food styling, the photography, etc. I’ve been sitting on the recipe for this easy chocolate tiramisu since June because I wanted to take another stab at the styling and then reshoot the photos. I wasn’t happy with how the chocolate pudding discolored the edges of the cream or how the layers kind of smushed together when I cut into it. Several tiramisus later, I realized that I personally am not capable of producing a picture-perfect slice of tiramisu without resorting to weird styling tricks that would render the dessert wholly inedible. The perfectionism monster inside of me pouted a little bit, but you know what? It’s okay, because it’s freaking delicious.
After making a mixed berry tiramisu earlier this year, I had some extra ladyfingers and decided to make a slightly more traditional version. But then I realized that many classic tiramisu recipes involved either a bunch of raw eggs—in addition to being a perfectionist, I’m also quite paranoid about food safety, so that was a firm no—or mixing up a custard while standing over the stove, and ain’t nobody this lady got time for that. Actually, I did have time. I was just too lazy. So instead I whipped up a chocolate pudding mix I found buried in the pantry, and thus a chocolate tiramisu was born! It’s soft and spongy, creamy and chocolatey, and wonderfully simple to make—no heat required!
As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a few weeks off from posting in the last month. I’ve found myself a little low on creative juices lately, and I think it’s better to skip a week every so often than to publish recipes that I’m not terribly excited about. But don’t worry—I’ve got some tasty fall dishes in the works and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you!
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? What are the strangest or most extreme things your perfectionism has driven you to do?
- 1 small (3-4 ounces) package chocolate pudding mix
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 7-ounce package ladyfingers
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1 tablespoon amaretto
- cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
- Prepare the chocolate pudding mix according to the directions on the package.
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone (or cream cheese), powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Be sure that the mascarpone is softened sufficiently, or you may end up with lumps in the whipped cream mixture. Using the whisk attachment, beat until smooth (you may have to run a spatula around the sides and the whisk once or twice in the beginning) and peaks form.
- If needed, cut the ladyfingers so that they fit into a 9x9 baking pan.
- Place the coffee and amaretto in a shallow dish or bowl. Holding a ladyfinger horizontally, dip one half of it quickly (less than 1 second) into the liquid. Place it, dipped side facing up, in the bottom of the baking pan. Repeat with half of the ladyfingers, until the bottom of the pan is covered (I do 2 rows of 6 ladyfingers).
- Spread up to half of the prepared chocolate pudding over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture over the pudding. Using the method described in step 4, dip the remaining ladyfingers and place them on top of the whipped cream mixture (facing the opposite direction of the first layer of ladyfingers). Top with another layer of chocolate pudding (if you don’t use all of it, that’s okay) and the remaining whipped cream mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 before serving. Optional: dust individual portions with cocoa powder.
- I use Hershey’s special dark chocolate pudding mix, which comes in a package of 3.56 ounces. You can also use a 3.9 ounce package, but you won’t need to use all of it.