The feast of the seven fishes is one of my very favorite Christmas traditions. I've posted about our family fish feast in the past but it's such a cool custom that I feel like it's worth sharing again. Every year on Christmas Eve, we fill our dinner table with everything from white fish, salmon, trout and tuna to scallops, mussels, clams and shrimp, all accompanied by a giant bowl of pasta with fresh calamari sauce. It's a pescatarians dream. 🐠 At the end of this marathon meal, there's nothing left but a bowl of broken shells and a pile of very messy napkins.
When I was growing up, every year my family would gather at my grandparents house for this annual Christmas Eve feast. At some point during our fish centered meal, my brother would find the biggest piece of calamari in the bowl, hold it in his front teeth with the tentacles sticking out and make weird squid faces at me and my cousins while we begged him to stop amidst our hysterical laughing. (Good times at the kid table!) This year, my mom is hosting the feast of the seven fishes on Christmas Eve but unfortunately, my brother wont be there to turn himself into a human cephalopod. Since we've moved up to the adult table - that might not be acceptable anymore anyway. 🦑
The Feast of the Seven Fishes isn't for the faint of heart. My family spends all day preparing and eating this fishy feast. By the end of the night, my belly is filled to capacity and I end up trying and talk my body into digesting quicker so that I can squeeze some dessert into my already full tummy. Christmas Eve dessert is usually something light and small but it's certainly NOT to be missed. This year, my mom is making tiramisu!!! Who knows, maybe, I'll be able to show some restraint this year at Christmas Eve and actually save room for dessert after our feast. 💁🏻♀️
Tiramisu is one of the things that Ben and I learned to make in the cooking class that we took in Bellagio. I was somewhat surprised to learn that I'd been making tiramisu the wrong way for years. I was never dissatisfied with my homemade tiramisu but now that I've tasted it the way that the Italians make it (the way it's SUPPOSED to be made) - I'm even more obsessed with the layered custard dessert.
I did have to alter the recipe from the way that our Italian cooking instructor taught us to make it though. She had the confidence to use raw fresh eggs in her dessert and I just don't cook with that same reckless - throw caution to the wind - kind of recklessness. At the risk of compromising the light and airy texture of the dessert, I decided to cook the egg whites and the yolks to 160 degrees just to make sure that the eggs were absolutely safe for consumption. Turns out - it didn't change the texture of the tiramisu in the least. It was just as scrumptious as it was when we made it in Italy. (Well, almost)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup espresso or strong coffee
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 package lady fingers
Beat mascarpone into egg yolk mixture with flat beater.
Repeat layering and top with a dusting of cocoa powder.
Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours to allow ladyfingers to soften.
You can also make this tiramisu in individual cups if you like. I made 5 of these little parfaits with one recipe of tiramisu. The first time that I made it, I tried cutting little circles out of the square pan and gently finagling them into my individual cups. (#messydisaster) The second time, I realized it would be way easier (and less messy) if I just made the tiramisu in the parfait cups. Just passing along the lesson that I learned the hard way. You're welcome.
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