Category Archives: Dessert

My Favorite Hispanic Recipes

Hola amigos! Today marks the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. I hope you’ve had a good one!

Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Hispanic influenced recipes NOT from this blog. Some are traditional recipes & some are more like Tex-Mex or fusion like.

My Favorite Hispanic Recipes - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Food brings people together & introducing people to new flavors is a great way to introduce them to new cultures.

¡Buen provecho!

  1. Mexican Corn Dip from Well Plated – It’s like elote, but in dip form & not too heavy because of a few sneaky swaps! I made it for my mother in law, who loves all things corn, for her birthday & the whole family loved it.
  2. Black Bean Avocado Salad from Nancy C. – I make this often! Y’all know how I feel about tomatoes & this salsa-like salad checks all of the flavor boxes WITHOUT any tomatoes!
  3. Vaca Frita from Fabulous Fare Sisters – Vaca Frita is my favorite thing to order at Cuban restaurants, but you can totally make it at home! I’m making this tonight with some white rice & maduros.
  4. White Chicken Enchiladas from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen – Green chile & I are BFFs. This recipe, while not super authentically Mexican, delivers on the green chile front! This is one of the first foods I cooked for my husband while we were dating <3. It’s still a favorite!
  5. Churro Truffles from Pizzazzerie – For when you want that churro flavor without the choux pastry & deep frying.
  6. Merenguitos (Cuban meringue cookies) from Three Guys From Miami – This blog includes 2 authentic Cuban merenguitos recipes. Personally I only ever use the first one – sugar & NO cream of tartar. I love merenguitos that are super crunchy on the outside but still just the tiniest bit chewy on the inside. Yummmm!

What are your favorites from around the internet?

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Pastelitos De Guayaba

In South Florida pretty much all of the grocery stores with a bakery have an assortment of Hispanic pastries/baked goods. Empanadas, arepas, and of course, pastelitos.

Pastelitos are Cuban pastries with various fillings. They can be sweet or savory. Today I’m sharing with you the king of all sweet pastelitos – pastelito de guayaba.

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This pastelito is filled with guava paste, which is a very sweet, very thick guava reduction. It is absolutely one of my favorite things. I’ve briefly shared about it before in a couple of recipes.

In this recipe, guava paste is the star. Pastelitos de guayaba (the Spanish word for guava, as you may have guessed) come in two forms – con queso y sin queso. The combination of guava paste & cheese is truly wonderful. Any cheese will do, but for pastelitos it’s cream cheese. The two flavors melt and marry beautifully in the puff pastry. If cheese isn’t your thing, that’s OK. Just stick with the guava.

Thanks to the wonder that is frozen puff pastry, this recipe is ridiculously simple. I don’t make it often because it’s kind of a calorie bomb, but it’s worth every single one.

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To make a dozen pastelitos, cut the guava paste brick into 12 slices. I usually cut in into quarters & then each quarter into 3 pieces. Then lay the guava slices on to the puff pastry sheet, using the folds as natural dividers. For this batch I put cream cheese on half of them.

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Top with the other sheet of puff pastry, cut into 12 squares that each contain a guava slice, & score the top. Then brush with an egg wash to get that nice golden color.

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These pastries are so flaky and delicious. Cuban people would call this breakfast, but this makes a great dessert, too. Basically good for any occasion, any time of day! Pastelitos are delicious warm or cold, but you definitely want them to cool for a few minutes after coming out of the oven. Hot guava = lava. Hey, that rhymes! These can be a little messy between the flaky crust and warm, gooey guava. You’ll definitely be licking your fingers!

Now that I don’t live in South Florida anymore I might be making these more often. If your local grocery store bakery doesn’t offer pastelitos, now you know how to make your own!

¡Buen provecho!

Pastelitos De Guayaba

Makes 1 dozen pastries

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry
  • 1 brick of guava paste (approx. 14 oz)
  • cream cheese (optional)
  • 1 egg for wash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Thaw the puff pastry according to package directions. You want it thawed enough to unfold without cracking, but not soft.
  2. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  3. Cut guava paste into 12 slices. Place 4 slices per pastry sheet fold to get your 12 servings. If adding cream cheese, place 1 tbsp (or slice of the same length as guava slice) on top of guava.
  4. Unfold the second puff pastry sheet and place it over the one with the guava paste. Cut into 12 squares and score the tops of each.
  5. Brush egg wash on each square. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Can be enjoyed warm or cold.
Nutritional info (with cream cheese): 307 cal, 44 g carbs, 13.5g fat, 4 g protein

Classic Cuban Flan

Deciding what recipe to share with you this week for Hispanic Heritage Month inspired me to make something that I have not made in ages: flan.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

What is flan? Flan is a delicious cooked custard. There really is nothing like it in my opinion. It can be very hard to describe. When done correctly, the texture is light and dense at the same time while being totally smooth; truly one of a kind. The caramel on top is just as important as the custard. Flan can be many different flavors. This here is the OG flan.

Every Latin country has their own flan recipe. Actually, it probably even varies family to family! This is my family’s recipe.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

I made my family’s classic Cuban flan the old fashioned way – in the pressure cooker.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

Hisssssssss

We’ve never made it any other way. There are other recipes out there for making it in the oven. This recipe is staying true to my roots & embracing the scary pressure cooker. There really isn’t anything to be scared of. I bought this one like 10 years ago & it has a sensor that WILL NOT allow you to open it if it’s still pressurized. It’s pretty fail safe. The hissing sound it makes really takes me back to my childhood. I introduced Cupcake to that sound today – she wasn’t a huge fan. Yet.

You CAN make this recipe using an InstaPot, or so I have read. I have zero experience using one, so I’m not sure what the conversion would be. It took me many years to embrace the CrockPot, so I think it’ll be another while before I can embrace the InstaPot.

The other item you need to make this recipe the traditional way is a flanera.

flanera flan Mrs. Dessert Monster

I just bought this one off Amazon (not affiliate link, just sharing!). It’s actually a little sad I didn’t already have one, but I really haven’t made flan in ages! Siglos, as my mom said. The locking lid prevents water from getting in to it. Again, there are other recipes that omit this equipment, even using a pressure cooker or InstaPot. For me, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’m not messing with success & proven results!

This recipe and this cooking method is a part of my heritage. Sure, there are other times I totally embrace different ways of making classic recipes. Or even just outright buy my favorite Cuban foods. No one I know makes their own croquetas anymore, thanks to Goya. But this flan is special. And special equipment aside, it’s pretty simple to make.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

Back when I did make this flan more often, I quickly jotted down my mom’s recipe one day. You can totally tell English is my heart language, even though Spanish was my first language. Since it’s been a while I called her to clarify & wrote down the instructions more clearly for all of us.

Classic Cuban Flan

  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • ~1 cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a large mixing bowl. Take the now empty can of sweetened condensed milk & fill it with milk (it’s approximately 1 cup, but doing it this way ensures you have equal parts by volume milk & sweetened condensed milk).
  2. Add eggs & vanilla to bowl. Mix thoroughly using electric mixer or by hand with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. To make caramel, pour 1 cup of sugar into medium saucepan. Melt until a light golden liquid caramel forms. Carefully pour caramel into flanera, using oven mitts to turn the flanera to cover the sides with caramel.
  4. Strain the egg custard mix into the flanera with caramel. Close the latches.
  5. Place flanera into pressure cooker. Fill with water until just below lid of flanera (this was less than 2 cups for me, just to give you an idea). Do not fill too high. Close pressure cooker properly. TIP FROM MY MAMI: when using an electric stove top, you may want to use a metal or foil ring to prevent flanera from being in direct contact with the heating element. I have a gas stove so I did not do this step.
  6. Turn the stove on medium heat. When the pressure cooker begins to hiss, cook for 30 more minutes, then turn off heat. Allow pressure cooker to fully depressurize before opening. I usually leave it for about an hour. Take flanera out & put into fridge for 1-4 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, open flanera. Take your serving dish, invert it over flanera & flip flan out. You want a serving dish with some sort of edge so you don’t lose all that precious caramel! Cut into slices & spoon residual caramel over top.
Nutritional info, based on 12 servings: 200 calories, 32 g sugar, 5.8 g protein, 5.1 g fat

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

I had some help in the kitchen today making these fudgy brownies.

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(and some help licking the bowl!)

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Recipe below! Note: cooking time depends on thickness/size of pan. I made these a little thicker this time & it took more like 35 minutes.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

A few weekends ago I had the type of Saturday that only comes around once every couple of months. It was a glorious Saturday with absolutely no plans. It was a no-need-for-pants kind of day.

This is not to be confused with the type of Saturday where you are bored & wishing for plans. This was a much needed break from busy lives. My husband & I did things around the house. We watched college football. We had the whole day to ourselves to do whatever we wanted. After a delicious steak dinner, I realized we did not have any dessert. My husband said, “we haven’t left the house all day – do you want to go out for some frozen yogurt?”

I said no.

We hadn’t left the house all day! I was not about to put pants on, especially not after dinner.

So instead, I decided to make some…

View original post 572 more words

Cocoa Powder Microwave Fudge

Sometimes mami just needs a chocolate fix & there is nothing prepared in the house. That’s where this super easy fudge recipe comes in!

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This is a one bowl recipe – a microwave safe bowl. That’s part of what makes this recipe so amazing – no cooking! You pretty much just dump the ingredients in the bowl, zap it for a few minutes, & stir.

It has only 5 easy ingredients – powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, milk, & butter. I don’t think I could call myself Mrs. Dessert Monster if I didn’t always have these on hand!

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I originally found this recipe on allrecipes & have been using it for years to make this quick, delicious fudge.

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It doesn’t last very long in my house!

Cocoa Powder Microwave Fudge

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Grease a square dish. (8×8 or 9×9, whatever you got!)
  2. Stir together powdered sugar & cocoa powder in a microwave safe bowl. (If desired, sift the powdered sugar. I almost never do this – I don’t really mind little bits of sugar throughout!)
  3. Add milk & butter to the bowl. DON’T mix! Microwave for 2 minutes, until butter is melted.
  4. Add vanilla & stir until smooth. Pour into greased dish. Chill until set & hardened (~30 min in fridge/10 min in freezer) & then cut into squares.

 

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Merry Christmas!

In my house, Christmas doesn’t truly end until Three Kings Day.

Granted, it’s not quite as magical anymore after the 25th. Also, Cupcake’s birthday is before Three Kings Day, so we do want to pause Christmas & give her her own special day. BUT STILL – Three Kings Day marks the “official” end of Christmas around here. (Also, it really is the end of the 12 Days of Christmas!)

One of my Golden Year Bucket List things was to hand-make most of my Christmas gifts. I can now officially cross that off my list!

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Here are the gifts I made for my dear family:

Snockerdoodles

These cookies were gifted to my brother. I used this recipe to make a cakey crackle cookie (say that 3x fast!) with a whiskey kick!

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Baby ‘Print Ornaments

The grandparents (plus Auntie Tina) received ornaments made from Cupcake’s handprint or footprint. I also helped my niece make some to give as her gifts!

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Inspired by these Pinterest posts.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I really wanted to give a jar gift to my sister-in-law & when I saw the taco seasoning on this post I knew that was it! I deviated from the original recipe a bit & I think it came out great! My favorite part is the decorations on the jar.

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Fruit Cake Biscotti

These fruit cake biscotti turned out even better than I could have imagined! I tweaked this recipe a bit & the results were fantastic. I feel inspired to make more biscotti!

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Did you make any of your Christmas gifts?

 

Cranberry Bliss Bar Ice Cream

Every single year at Christmas time I look forward to Cranberry Bliss Bars coming back at Starbucks. This year, I somehow got the idea to turn my beloved bliss bar into an ice cream flavor.

Call it divine intervention.

Cranberry Bliss Bar Ice Cream - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This ice cream recipe captures all of the essence of the Starbucks bar, but in a creamy frozen treat.

I didn’t want to just throw a cranberry bliss bar into some vanilla ice cream. I really thought about how to make this ice cream blissfully special.

A cranberry bliss bar is essentially a blondie with cream cheese icing, white chocolate, & dried cranberries. There’s an almost hidden citrus-y component to them – orange zest. I wanted my ice cream to encompass all of these wonderful flavors.

Cranberry Bliss Bar Ice Cream - Mrs. Dessert Monster

My cranberry bliss bar ice cream is a cream cheese ice cream with dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, orange marmalade, & Biscoff cookies.

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I love Biscoff cookies! I just learned that this is what a speculoos cookie is! I totally get the Trader Joe’s speculoos hype now.

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Cupcake loves them, too.

Biscoff/speculoos cookies are the perfect way to represent the blondie without having to make a blondie. I left them in large-ish chunks & they get wonderfully soft in the ice cream.

Cranberry Bliss Bar Ice Cream - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I like a lot of stuff in my ice cream. If you’re not a huge fan of lots of bits in your ice cream, just cut the amounts listed below for the mix ins in half. The cream cheese ice cream alone is SO GOOD. I’m quite proud of myself for it!

This Christmas treat came out even better than I could have imagined.

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Bonus picture of the baby watching the ice cream machine.

Cranberry Bliss Bar Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart 

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup dried canberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 8 Biscoff cookies
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade
  1. Using the whisk attachment, whip the softened cream cheese until smooth.
  2. While the cream cheese is whipping, soak the dried cranberries in water.
  3. Add sugar & a pinch of salt to the cream cheese & continue to whip.
  4. Add lime juice, heavy cream, & milk. Mix until smooth.
  5. Pour cream cheese mix into ice cream maker. Churn for 20 minutes. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container.
  6. Strain the cranberries & add them to the ice cream along with white chocolate chips. Break up Biscoff cookies & add to ice cream. Swirl mix ins throughout. Finally, stir in orange marmalade.
  7. Freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. If ice cream is too hard to serve, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes before scooping.

 

 

 

Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich

Are you as obsessed with The Great British Baking Show as I am?

I’m actually quite sad that the latest season just ended.

For the finale, the contestant’s technical challenge was to make Mary’s Victoria sandwich without a recipe.

A Victoria sandwich is is a two-layer light sponge cake filled with a layer of jam & buttercream.

Seeing as how I am not British – not even close – I am only able to take Mary Berry’s word that this is a classic cake & that the jam should be raspberry (with “all the bits”, as she says).

I’ve been wanting to try to create one of the recipes from the show since I started watching Season 1 on Netflix earlier this summer. I figured this one shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Not like the Prinsesstårta!

The only thing is that Mary Berry’s recipe is written in U.K. Measurements. I have no idea how much 225g of self-raising flour is. The PBS website is nice enough to link to this conversion site at the bottom of the recipe, but it only converts grams to ounces – not cups. I still have no idea how much 8oz of flour is. So with my little food scale & Google, I came up with the below recipe conversion.

Hence this is Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich.

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One key difference for me is that I do not have self-raising flour. Therefore, I used all purpose plus extra baking powder. (Side note: God is real, you guys. I had JUST enough flour to make this!)

I also made my own caster sugar with a food processor. I was going to skip it but I read that regular granulated sugar wouldn’t give the sponge the right texture & could be grainy. To make enough caster sugar for this recipe, I pulsed 1 1/4 cup of sugar in the food processor for about 30 seconds.

I was all set to follow Mary’s proportions for buttercream (7 tbsp buter, 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar if anyone is interested),  but then I accidentally threw the whole stick of butter in the mixer. So 2 cups of powdered sugar it was. It’s so much easier to use the whole stick of butter anyway!

I did cheat a little & used store bought raspberry jam – seedless. Sorry, Mary. I know you like “all the bits”, but my husband does not!

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My 2 sponges domed up more than I would have liked in the middle, so I did trim them. But that just meant I got to taste test them before serving them to my friends!

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I cannot tell you how this compares to the British original.

I can only tell you it was delicious!

Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich

Victoria Sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, lightly spooned – not scooped
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 8in round cake pans & line with parchment paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Then add the sugar, flour, baking powder, & butter. Use an electric mixer to mix together until well combined, being careful not to over-mix. (According to Mary, “The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency.”)
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake pans. Use a spatula to gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
  4. Place the cake pans on the middle shelf of the oven & bake for 25 minutes. Don’t open the oven door to check them until at least the 20 minutes mark.
  5. When the’re done, remove them from the oven & set aside to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Then transfer onto a rack to cool completely.

Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  1. Using electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar & beat until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar & 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat the mixture until creamy & smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick.

To assemble:

  1. Choose one of the sponges to be the bottom & put it down on to a serving plate.
  2. Spread the raspberry jam (store bought or homemade) on the cake, then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam.
  3. Place the other sponge on top & sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.

 

 

Cupcakes For Cupcake’s Baptism!

Yesterday was Cupcake’s baptism!

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She was such an angel about it! She was asleep up until we got up on the church altar. Then she opened her eyes & perked up, almost as if she knew that the ceremony was all for her.

Afterward we had a little party at our house to celebrate.

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So of course I made a cake!

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A pull-apart cupcake cake to be precise. Cupcakes for my Cupcake’s baptism ❤

This cake was so easy to assemble! I used 1 box cake mix, about 3 tubs of frosting, & some chocolate candies.

I think it came out looking beautiful.

I’m very much looking forward to raising little Cupcake to be a God-fearing woman.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Pull-Apart Cupcake Cross

assembly instructions
  • 28 cupcakes
  • ~50 oz frosting (about 3 tubs)
  • candies for decorating
  1. Assemble the cupcakes into the desired cross shape.
  2. Frost each cupcake with a large rosette ( I used Wilton 2D tip)
  3. Fill in the gaps with more rosettes.
  4. Decorate with colorful candies.

Pregnant Tiramisu

I have been pretty good this pregnancy about following the guidelines of what not to eat. Not too paranoid, but definitely avoiding the basics.

No alcohol. No cold cuts. No sushi. Limited caffeine. Nothing with raw eggs.

Raw eggs is one that seems straight forward, but isn’t. Meringue frosting? Raw egg whites. Homemade mayonnaise dressings? Probably has raw eggs. Tiramisu? RAW EGGS.

I had never made tiramisu before, but earlier in my pregnancy I had a hankering for it & looked up some recipes to see if I could substitute the obvious non-pregnancy friendly ingredients out. I was surprised when nearly every recipe called for raw egg yolks, & some also use the raw egg whites!

I figured tiramisu was just one more thing I’d have to add to my  ‘No’ list. Until I came across this post by Lily from Little Sweet Baker. She did it! An amazing egg-free tiramisu recipe! With a few substitutions, baby & I could enjoy tiramisu after all!

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Not only is this recipe safe for pregnancy, it’s also amazingly simple – which is great since pregnancy brain is in full swing around here. To make the tiramisu truly pregnancy friendly I used decaf espresso & omitted the liquor. My husband & I switched to decaf espresso when we found out about the baby, so that was no issue. I also increased the amount of vanilla extract a little to ‘make up’ for the liquor taste.

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I ended up making this recipe several weeks ago when we had some friends over to watch a football game & it was a big hit! One of my friends is really sensitive to caffeine & was grateful for a decaf tiramisu recipe. So it’s not just pregnancy friendly!

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Serve with a decaf cappuccino & have yourself an (almost) authentic Italian night!

Pregnant Tiramisu

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups decaf espresso, cooled
  • lady fingers
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla extract.. Add mixture to whipped cream and beat again until smooth.
  3. Dip each lady finger into the cooled espresso. Do not soak too long or they will get soggy. Line a 9×9 square baking dish with a layer of dipped lady fingers.
  4. Spread half of the cream mixture over the lady fingers. Repeat another layer of lady fingers & cream. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours, best if overnight.
  5. Dust with cocoa powder before serving. (If you do this before chilling the tiramisu, like I accidentally did, it will still be delicious! Just a little less pretty.)