Terrific tiramisu: Jennie Kueter's signature dessert included in Bright School cookbook

Terrific tiramisu: Jennie Kueter's signature dessert included in Bright School cookbook

March 20th, 2013 by Clint Cooper in Life Entertainment

Jennie Kueter puts the final touches on her tiramisu dessert.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

SEEKING RAVE RECIPES

Do you have a dish that you're known for? Do your friends ask for that one recipe? Is there something your family asks you to make over and over? The Times Free Press would like you to share that dish with our readers and to show you preparing it. If you would like to participate or have someone you'd like to suggest (with their permission), contact Clint Cooper at 423-757-6497 or copper@timesfreepress.com.

READY TO COOK?

"Fork Knife Spoon," celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bright School, contains 258 recipes and is arranged in 10 chapters celebrating the past 10 decades of Chattanooga. As such, it also has photos of places, products and people -- and recipes from 16 local restaurants -- that have shaped the city over the same 100 years. The books are $30 and may be purchased at The Bright School or online at www.amazon.com. Proceeds will be used to enhance the school's outdoor learning areas.

Her month of language immersion in the Italian province of Sienna in 2011 was only somewhat successful, admits Chattanoogan Jennie Kueter.

But the Italian cooking classes were a delightful extra, she says, and her family, friends and her children's Bright School are among the beneficiaries.

"I can cook [better] than I can speak Italian," Kueter says.

Several of the transplanted Chattanoogan's recipes are included in the recent publication of "Fork Knife Spoon," a cookbook compiled by the school's Parents' Association in celebration of Bright's 100th anniversary.

It's not like Kueter learned to cook in Italy. She says she's loved to cook since assisting her father on all-day-Saturday spaghetti-cooking marathons as a child.

"I'm an Italian at heart," she says. "My dad was such a great cook; that's where I get my love for it."

Among the recipes Kueter learned to cook in Italy is tiramisu, a light, fluffy Italian dessert made of ladyfingers dipped in coffee.

Her husband, she says, is not a huge dessert fan, but the tiramisu is not terribly sweet, is not heavy like many desserts and offers a delectable coffee taste.

Prior to her trip to Italy, Kueter says, she assumed the dessert was a "really complicated dish" and "tried to stay away from it."

However, she says, "it's just a few different ingredients. That's the beauty of it."

The recipe, according to Kueter, calls for the heavy cream and sugar to be combined and whipped in a chilled bowl.

"The chilled bowl makes it easier," she says. "It doesn't work as well at room temperature."

Although the recipe calls for strong black coffee to dip the ladyfingers into, Kueter uses espresso.

"That makes [the coffee] flavor even stronger," she says. "I love that."

While the recipe mentions the dessert being topped with cocoa before refrigerating, Kueter adds it just before she serves it, which keeps it from sinking into the whipped cream mixture on top.

Although the tiramisu dish Kueter provided for "Fork Knife Spoon" suggests for it to be served in individual wine glasses, it can be prepared in a trifle bowl or even in a casserole pan.

Or, she says, berries of the preparer's choice can be layered into the individual dishes or trifle bowl during preparation.

Perhaps, best of all, Kueter says, it can be made ahead of time.

"It's a great party dish," she says, "and it gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. The coffee and the cream mixes all together. It foolproof."

The tiramisu fits the comfortable easiness Kueter finds in many Italian foods.

"That's the beauty of Italian food," she says. "It's rustic, easy and thrown quickly together."

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to my posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.

Tiramisu

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (7 ounce) package ladyfingers

1 cup strong black coffee

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

4 (8 ounce) wine glasses

In a chilled bowl, combine 3/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup sugar. Whip with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream, vanilla extract and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Whip with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Reserve 4 ladyfingers for garnish. Using 1 ladyfinger at a time, snap or cut in half, then dip it quickly into the coffee and drop it into the bottom of a wine glass. Repeat with the other 3 wine glasses. Put a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of the ladyfingers in each glass. Do another layer of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, another of the cream cheese mixture, then 1 more layer of ladyfingers. Top with remaining filling and dollop with the whipped cream. Break the reserved 4 ladyfingers in half and insert 2 halves into the top of each glass.

Put the cocoa powder into a small sieve and tap it gently over each glass to dust the tops. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

-- Jennie Kueter