If I had to pick a country’s cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be Italian. Disregarding the resulting enormity of my thighs, of course. There just seems to be infinite possibilities surrounding a love of simple ingredients. Endless varieties of pasta and risottos to keep me entertained for a long while. And Italian puddings are often so decadently creamy, and don’t have the fiddly precision of French desserts – both epitomised by this recipe.
As is often quoted, ‘tiramisu’ means ‘pick me up’ in Italian. This is due to the fact that it is laced with coffee and a more than generous (in this recipe, anyway) amount of booze. This is one of my go to recipes when I bring a pudding to a party, and has, on more occasions than I’m willing to admit, made a perfect hangover breakfast the next day.
The combination of alcohol suggested seems to vary a bit in between recipes. One most have in common is Marsala wine, a sweet fortified wine originally from Scicily. So I used this, along with amaretto liqueur, as I have a long-abiding love of the stuff.
You will need a rectangular baking dish, measuring about 40 by 30cm, and about 5cm deep.
30 sponge fingers (175g packet)
75ml Marsala wine (available in most supermarkets, and cheap in Lidl)
100ml strong coffee
200ml double cream
2 eggs, separated
1 tbsp sugar
50g dark chocolate, grated
In a measuring jug, measure out the amaretto and Marsala wine, then mix in the coffee. Dip half of the sponge fingers into the liquid, and lay them in the bottom of your dish. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until pale. Beat the mascarpone and double cream into the egg yolk mixture, then pour in about 100ml of the coffee mixture and beat again until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites, and spread half of this mixture on top of the sponge fingers in the bottom of the dish. Then dip the remaining sponge fingers in the remaining alcohol and lay over the mascarpone layer, then spread the remaining mascarpone mixture on top. Leave in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top just before serving.