Ready-made versions of Tiramisu, which are fluffy and over-sweet, have given this traditional Italian pudding a bad name. The real thing is rich and strongly flavoured with coffee, vanilla and brandy. Tiramisu literally means ‘pick-me-up’ from its energy-giving combination of raw egg, coffee and cream.
- 4 egg yolks
- 80g vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 250g mascarpone
- 250ml double cream
- 3 tbsps marsala wine
- 24 sponge fingers
- 80g vanilla sugar
- 300ml shot espresso coffee
- 2 tbsps coffee liqueur or chocolate liqueur
- 2 tbsps brandy
- 100g dark chocolate, peeled into curls
- 4 tbsps cocoa powder for dusting
- Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla sugar and vanilla essence together in a bowl over steaming hot water until pale and doubled in volume. Whisk together the mascarpone, double cream and marsala together until thick. Whisk the two mixtures together.
- Make up the dip for the sponge fingers. Dissolve the vanilla sugar with the hot espresso then add the coffee liqueur and brandy.
- Dip the sponge fingers into the coffee mixture, so that they evenly absorb the liquid. You want the sponge fingers to absorb as much liquid as possible without turning soggy.
- Line the base and sides of a large bread tin with a strip of baking parchment long enough to hang over at the ends. This will enable you to easily lift the Tirimisu out of the tin to serve.
- Aim to make 3 layers of mascarpone and 3 layers of biscuits with 8 sponge biscuits on each layer.
- Start with a layer of biscuits, sprinkle over a little dark chocolate and a dusting of cocoa. Spread a layer of the mascarpone mixture all over. Arrange 8 more sponge biscuits on top, more chocolate and cocoa, then another layer of mascarpone and another layer of biscuits, then the last of the chocolate and some more cocoa.
- Finish with a mascarpone layer and sift on the remaining cocoa powder.
- Chill and leave to set in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. The Tirimisu improves over time and is very good served the next day.
- To serve take it out of the tin using the baking parchment tails, serve on an oblong white serving dish cut into thin slices.
- Try layering the ingredients in small ramekins for individual portions.
- Delicious as a semi freddo, half frozen, Italian style!