A weekend in Cornwall and a tiramisu with a twist

As I anticipated, after a few weeks of madness I can finally get back to my blog — at least partially. We just moved house and there’s still plenty to do, so it’s a miracle that I am still sticking to my baking sessions!

Today’s recipe has been inspired from the weekend my boyfriend and I spent in Cornwall, two weeks ago. We went to Polperro, a delightful fishing village where my boyfriend  spent some holidays with his family as a kid.

It was low season and the only thing the weather forecast had been promising for days was rain, so there was only a bunch of tourists around. I have been told that, on high season, the village is absolutely packed and it can be arduous to get a booking in the best known restaurants, so I was definitely happy about the timing. We have even been lucky enough to have the sun shining for half a weekend, making our Polperro-Looe coastal walk [about 5 1/2 miles..] much easier and more enjoyable.

Either way, a bad weather wasn’t going to scare us off: one of the reasons we visited Cornwall was for its food.
We left Paddington station carrying with us some change of clothes, books and a bag from Burger King each [.. I know. Disgraceful]. After an eventful train journey we ended up in a cab in Plymouth driven by someone who probably has seen Fast & Furious too many times, and finally arrived at our hotel: The Claremont, currently run by a Hungarian couple. The decor was dated, but place was so spotless that you could think it had just been inaugurated. Carina’s cleaning routine has a lot to teach to some five star hotels I’ve been in.

We left out baggage and promptly left to start with what would have been the main activities for the weekend: drinking and eating. Given the prices in Cornwall, we ended up doing too much of both. Our first culinary stop was Nelson’s, an old-fashioned restaurant that serves good, solid, traditional dishes. My favourite course by far was the dessert: a chocolate mousse with cornish vanilla ice cream, Amaretto di Saronno and sliced almonds.

The day after marked an embarrassing milestone in my life as an eater. I managed to eat, in order: a full English breakfast, scones filled with the traditional clotted cream and jam [..or jam and clotted cream. I always forget], fish and chips, cornish ice cream, fudge and shortbread, fishcake, fish curry. Our walk to Looe only partly made up for it and, by the end of the day, I felt like the guy in The Meaning Of Life.

For our last day we opted for a more sensible diet, to make sure we could enjoy the culinary highlight of the weekend: dinner at Couch’s. For £40 you get a three-course tasting menu, preceded by the most delicious tomato soup shot. The chef, Richard McGeown, gives it a twist by adding truffle oil and cinnamon and accompanying it with a mini walnut loaf. The other courses were all outstanding and only at the end of the dinner e discovered that our waiter, with whom we would chit-chat in between courses, was also the restaurant’s chef and owner.

The following day we left Cornwall, not before stopping by Cornish Delights in Looe to stock up on fudge, and buying a pasty for lunch. Sarah’s Pasty Shop provided us with what I consider the best meal in the whole weekend: huge, succulent beef and Stilton pasties, so  rich that they kept us going throughout an endless train journey the torrential rain.

But it was on my second day in Polperro that I had an epiphany. My boyfriend had been talking about clotted cream for weeks and, hen I finally tasted it, I couldn’t help noticing its remarkable resemblance to mascarpone cheese. The idea of using it for tiramisu came immediately after. A tiramisu with a Cornish twist. “A truro-misu!” my boyfriend exclaimed.

Italians hate seeing their food exploited. It’s as bad as offending their mums or their football teams. They also have a very low opinion of english food. As my niece would put it, I is meanie, and can’t hide a certain satisfaction in taking such a popular dessert as tiramisu and mixing it with a British classic. Here’s the recipe for the truromisu:

What you need:

1/2 cup of coffee:
Preferably with a moka but, in case you don’t have one, you can use a tsp instant coffee in 1/2 cup of boiling sugar. Add a tsp sugar and let it cool down.

I used this recipe: a tad on the salty side, but probably because I made my own mixture for the self-raising flour. Any recipe for plain scones would do.

Tiramisu cream: 

  • 250 g cornish clotted cream
  • 2 uber-fresh eggs
  • 50g caster sugar

Separate the egg yokes from the whites, and put the whites aside. Whisk the yokes and half the sugar until light, fluffy and creamy. Briefly whisk in the clotted cream, enough to give it a thicker tesxture.  Whisk the egg whites until the form stiff peaks, add a pinch of sugar and the sugar. Add the mixture to the yoke and egg cream a bit at a time, folding delicately.

Coffee chocolate:
For decoration. Chopped into pieces to give our dessert some crunchiness.

Cut the scones in half and brush the inside with the cool coffee.

With a piping bag or a spatula, distribute the cream over the lower half of the scone. Sprinkle with the chocolate and cover with the top of the scone. Spread more cream and sprinkle with  more chocolate. Ecco fatto!