Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuscan Trifle, for my calorie counting buddies!

Sorry I never got a chance to post another entry last week. I had the best intentions, but I just wound up too busy between all the eating, drinking and visiting with family and friends! Okay, so long story short, I went back home for a few days and proceeded to eat my way through Chicago. From deep dish pizza to South American cuisine and Indian to Italian food, I ate enough to feed a small army. Yes, I even indulged in a little gelado on a 20-degree day. But cut me some slack! It was the first time I'd been home since last Christmas. Sadly, I did not get my Polish food fix...but since I'm headed back there next month for the holidays, I figure I'll have plenty of time to fill up on the rest of my faves.
Anyhoo, one of the highlights was all the delicious dessert. For starters, we had these amazing churros dipped in chocolate and dulce de leche sauce at Carnivale, one of my fave Latin restaurants in the city. But even better, I think, was the dee-lish tirimasu I shared with some friends at Bourgeois Pig Café.

For those unfamiliar with tiramisu, it's a popular Italian dessert made with lady fingers, coffee and mascarpone cream. The name, in Italian, apparently means "pull me up" - and is considered a "pick-me-up" reference to the effects of the sugar and espresso. Whatever the literal translation, tiramisu has long been one of my favorite sweet treats. While I chowed down on the high-cal version, I've since dug up some sugar-free recipes (thanks to Hungry Girl and Splenda.com!) for all my calorie counting buddies. I will be testing these variations out in the near future. Hope you enjoy!

Tiramisu Parfait

Ingredients:
1 (10.5 ounce) package sugar free angel food cake, purchased from bakery
3 1/2 teaspoons instant decaffeinated coffee powder
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 (8 ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Directions:
1. Cut angel food cake into 1 cubes. Set aside.
2. Dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Chill in refrigerator.
3. Combine mascarpone and cream cheese in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons coffee, dark brown sugar, SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener and vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
4. Pour cold coffee into a 9X13 inch pan.
5. Assemble Tiramisu: Quickly dip half of angel food cake pieces into the coffee. Remove immediately and place in medium glass serving bowl. Spread half of cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with 1 tsp cocoa powder. Repeat with remaining angel food cake, cheese mixture, and cocoa.
6. Cover and chill for three hours or overnight before serving.

Tirami-DO!

Ingredients:
8 Trader Joe’s Soft Lady Fingers OR 6 Specialty Bakers Ladyfingers
1/2 cup cooled, strong-brewed, flavored coffee (or espresso); sweetened w/ Splenda or other no-cal sweetener
1/4 cup light ricotta cheese (not part-skim, light)
2 tbsp. Cool Whip Free
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Splenda
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions:
Begin by lining up half of the ladyfingers next to each other on a serving dish. Drizzle cooled coffee over ladyfingers until desired saturation is reached. In a bowl, combine cheese, Splenda, Cool Whip and vanilla, and mix well. Spread half of this mixture on top of ladyfingers and top with half of the cocoa. Next, layer remaining ladyfingers on top of dish. Again, cover with coffee. Spread remaining cheese mixture on top. Lastly, sprinkle cocoa over dish. Best when eaten immediately. Serves one or two, depending on how hungry you are.

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