Desserts and sweets

Two desserts in one: Gypsy Arm and Tiramisu

Two desserts in one: Gypsy Arm and Tiramisu


  • Half
  • 20 minutes
  • For 6 people
  • 1.2 € / person

To whom does a sweet sour? Do you like the gypsy arm ? And the tiramisu ? If your answer is affirmative, you will love today’s dessert, since it combines the two recipes into one: a smooth sabayon-type cream with a coffee-flavored sponge cake in the style of the classic gypsy arm. With a 70% cocoa finish sprinkled for those with a sweet tooth and to give it the most traditional tiramisu flavor. Convinced, right?

The blog you can find  the classic gypsy arm , although they say that the best in Spain are made by order of the Benedictine nuns of the Clausura Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares. They make a light, spongy and rolled sponge cake plate that is heavenly. The classic gypsy arm of the blog is approaching but I still do not have the hand of a confectioner of the monastery, some sure secret that they keep.

This  Spanish dessert has an uncertain origin, they say that the origin of its name is due to the fact that the boilermakers , the people who were dedicated to fixing iron elements such as pots or kettles, which were mostly gypsies , received as a gift from confectioners these sweets, which they transported in rolls and which were made with cuttings of other cakes of the day. It is also said that a Bercian monk who traveled the world in the Middle Ages, discovered this dessert in an Egyptian monastery and brought it to Spain, he began to be called ” Egyptian arm ” and the word degenerated into the current one. Elsewhere I have been able to read that the origin of the name of gypsy arm is simply due to its elongated shape and that when it is rolled up what is left in sight is the darkest part of the cake, brown in color like the skin of gypsies. In one way or another, this traditional sweet pastry that is usually filled with cream is very famous in Madrid’s pastry shops, a highly useful dessert that allows us to reuse leftover creams or sauces that we have left over from other elaborations or tunes such as in this case.

Queen’s arm, swiss roll, rolled, rocambole or wrapped child , are some of the names that this culinary delight that I present to you today receives and that you will surely love.

Preparation of Sabayón cream

Sabayon cream (sambayon, cream punch, zabaglione or zabaione), is a thick cream of Italian tradition based on 3 basic ingredients: raw yolks, sugar and wine or liquor (in this case with Port) all whipped in a bain-marie until that is left with a creamy texture. I have not passed it to the water bath for lack of time and the result is not so creamy, I leave you the preparation of the two ways so that you can decide.

  1. We heat water in a large saucepan, it must be hot but without boiling. While the water is heating, we separate the yolks from the whites and set aside in a cup. Eggs must be fresh and must be handled at room temperature.
  2. We grind the sugar with a grinder until we have some remaining sugar and mix it in a metal bowl with the yolks. We start whisking in the bowl out of the water and when it begins to froth we introduce the bowl in the saucepan with the hot water. Once inside we beat with some rods manually or with those of the mixer until they double in size. We are gradually adding the four tablespoons of Port and mixing in an enveloping way until they are incorporated into the cream.
  3. After mixing everything, remove from the water bath and continue in the cold until we have a fluffy and compact cream. We reserve for mounting the gypsy arm.
  4. The other option is to go directly to beat the yolks with the icing sugar and the Port and later mix with the cheese cream that I indicate later, remember that in this way you must eat the dessert on the same day or leave it in the fridge because the egg is raw.
  5. Beat the Mascarpone cheese until it is creamy (it is best to do it at room temperature). If the cheese is soft it will make it easier for us to incorporate it into the mixture of the yolks and the sugar. We mix with the sabayon cream until everything is well integrated, gently without lowering the cream, what we want to achieve is a fluffy cream. We keep the filling in the fridge so that it acquires a little consistency, it would be best to leave it overnight.

Preparation of the cake plate

There are several variants of the gypsy arm sponge sheet. The key to making the sponge cake spongy and flexible is to follow the preparation steps well and mix the ingredients with great delicacy.

  1. We mount the eggs on the one hand with the sugar, until they double their volume, with the help of an electric rod or the mixer.
  2. We add soluble coffee and the chosen liquor to the mixture, in this case Porto, although if we have Amaretto it will be better. Add the flour and stir until it is integrated.
  3. So that our griddle is the same thickness on all sides we will arrange the previous mixture on a baking sheet with sulphurous paper and distribute throughout the entire board with the help of a spoon, it is important that the tray is well leveled so that there is no more thick on one side than the other. We let the paper stand out on the edges of the tray, this will make it easier for us to turn the cake once it is baked.
  4. We must have the oven preheated to 200 º C 10 minutes before. We bake 7 minutes at 220ºC, it should not be cooked too long so that it does not dry and become more flexible. If we are not very flexible, and even if it looks good, we can moisten the cake with a little Port.
  5. After this time, we take the cake out of the oven and let it cool, turning it over another sulfurized paper. Once the cake is cold, we will cut it to eliminate irregularities, leaving a piece of about 30 × 40 cm. We spread over it the previously prepared filling, and with the help of the sulfurized paper, which will still be under the sponge cake, we roll it up to form the gypsy arm. Finally we sprinkle it with 70% cocoa powder and keep in the fridge until it is consumed. I hope you dare to try it, you will tell me.

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