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All of June’s Thrills in One July Day

July 23, 2008

These are chocolate cuppies with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting–made last Saturday to honor a good friend’s yard sale, which was a rite of passage as well as a chance to earn some extra cash.  I made them late Friday night, because it was really very hot last week.   In fact, it was so warm that the Swiss meringue never really quite set up.  I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it as an improvement over my regular buttercream, especially in summer.  (Remember the heat, o Best Beloved.)

Our yardsaling friends were coming for dinner, because it was going to be a long and busy and difficult day for them.  Tamales, I thought, and a nice salad, and tiramisu for dessert, because it’s such a lovely, smooshy, cool thing to eat–a slightly more grown-up version of icebox cake, with an edge of comfortable vulgarity that makes it perfect for guests you really like and don’t need to impress at all.

It’s also ridiculously easy to make. 

Dip some delicious ladyfinger biscuits in a mixture of cold coffee and marsala, and line a 13 x 9 inch pan.

In your KitchenAid, whisk 2 egg yolks with a quarter cup of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add one 8-ounce carton of mascarpone, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and whip until light.  Pour in 1 cup of whipping cream and whisk until it forms a lovely, cloud-like mass.  Spread over the ladyfingers in the pan.

Dip and layer another bunch of ladyfingers, carefully sinking them into the mascarpone.

Shave chocolate curls all over the surface, cover with clingfilm, and chill for a couple of hours.  Enjoy, in all its Big 80s, black and white splendor.

You will probably enjoy yours more if, after making it and setting it in the refrigerator, you don’t walk out into the heat (remember the heat) of a late Saturday afternoon in July, and into the root cellar room where you keep your chest freezer.  Because if you do, you might notice, as I did, the Amityvillesque abundance of flies clustering around the freezer.  And then you might discover that the freezer had failed,  turning $200 worth of just-purchased lamb, some beef suet, untold packets of frozen strawberries, rhubarb, applesauce, and peas, and the 16-year-old top off your wedding cake into a decaying gas bomb which blew the freezer lid open.  A couple of days ago, at least, judging from the maggot-laden semi-liquid leaking out the back of the freezer.

Did I mention the ripely inescapable odor? 

Eight latex gloves, four trash bags, two cardboard boxes, and one flying trip to the County Dump, we were scrubbing out the root cellar with hot bleach solution, and weeping bitter tears over the loss of the freezer (totally ruined . . . the household appliance version of the Death Car).

Dinner was still nice, though.  And it’s my hope that the rest of the month will be completely uneventful.

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