Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Twinkies, Grown-Up and on a Coffee Break

Let's take an imaginary trip to Italy, shall we? Treviso, just northwest of Venice, in the northeastern province of Veneto, is known for... well, not much unless you live there or in travelogues. But, I bet you have heard of Tiramisu, and lo and behold guess where it comes from!

Pretty much everyone who's tasted this "pick me up" dessert knows the basics of it: ladyfinger cookies soaked in a mixture of coffee, rum, and sugar, then layered with a mixture of mascarpone cheese and a zabaglione made with Marsala wine. Some claim that it was first created in Northern Italy during the First World War. Women made these desserts for their men to take with them as they were being sent off to war. They might have believed the high caffeine and energy content of these desserts would give their men more energy to fight and help bring them home safely.

But this tiramisu... isn't. No ladyfingers, no zabiglione, no egg yolks. This is a recipe from Disney World's Pop Century Resort in Orlando, which means anything but the ordinary applies here. It is well... very retro, shall we say, as is this most amazing hotel and park.

So, this is your typical tiramisu, but with... deep breath... twinkies instead of the ladyfingers. A very strong coffee flavour permeates this dish, but trust me, it's needed to balance the sweet cakes filled with cream (or God knows what else) and topped with layers of sweet whipped cream and heavy cheese.
However, unlike your traditional tiramisu, which just gets better and better with age, this pudding-y, bastardized Italian dessert only keeps well for about 1-2 days. I guess the "real" food in this dessert breaks down the preservatives in the Twinkies!

Twinkie-Misu
Makes 10 Servings
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
3/4 cup brewed espresso
¼ cup Italian brandy
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
12 Twinkies, sliced ½-inch thick (crosswise)
Cocoa powder for light dusting
  1. Combine water and sugar in small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
  3. Remove from heat, cool and add coffee and brandy.
  4. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  5. Fold cream into softened mascarpone until blended.
  6. Place a layer of the Twinkie slices in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
  7. Drizzle with half the espresso syrup.
  8. Spread with half the mascarpone filling.
  9. Repeat with remaining twinkies, syrup and mascarpone filling.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 461.3
Total Fat: 26.3 g
Cholesterol: 53.0 mg
Sodium: 211.8 mg
Total Carbs: 48.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 4.8 g

If you don't dare make this one yourself out of fear that you will suffer an immediate heart attack, don't despair! I have a wonderful (and fast!) recipe coming up for the Heart of the Month Roundup this week. Meanwhile, kill yourself laughing at other Twinkie experiments. Long live the Twinkie and it's everlasting versatility. Plus, if good for nothing else, it will be food for the cockroaches after the apocalypse!