Tiramisu: a real pick-me-up

July 28 2020
Tiramisu: a real pick-me-up

Recipe of the Month, with Ann Murray

IT’S fair to say that our lives are getting a little bit easier as the lockdown restrictions are being eased, but obviously we have a way to go yet. Much has been written about the long-term effects and how life will never be quite the same again. But, though I think about this, I really don’t want to go down that route here. Instead I’ve chosen one of my favourite Italian desert recipes, which is quick and easy to make – and the name of which translates as “lift me up”.

It was given to me by my best friend Patrick after he was taught it by his native Italian cookery teacher. Patrick sadly died almost six years ago, but every time I make this recipe I think of him and smile.

I hope that you will smile when you taste this, whether you are sharing it with a loved one, or multiply the ingredients for serving with friends.

Two words of warning and a tip: 

  • Make sure you use very strong black coffee – preferably espresso, but if not that, then strong black coffee with a teaspoon of instant coffee added.

  • This dessert needs to be well chilled, at least 6 hours in the fridge, so start preparing it in the morning for eating that night.

  • You can use one large dish, but I think it presents better in individual glass dishes, my favourites being Martini glasses. 

Serves 2 -3 depending on the size of the dishes used

  • Large organic eggs – 2, with yolks and whites in separate bowls

  • Caster sugar – 1oz (25g)

  • Mascarpone cheese – 125g

  • 3fl oz (75ml) very strong espresso coffee

  • Liqueur of choice – 1 ½ tbsp – I use Amaretto, but you can use brandy or dark rum

  • About 9 sponge fingers or Savoiardi biscuits (these are Italian and less sweet)

  • Good quality dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids) – 25g, chopped

  • Good quality cocoa powder (I like Green and Blacks) for dusting – about 1 dessert spoon

  • Chocolate cocoa beans for decoration- optional

Here’s What You Do: 

  1. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high for about 3 mins until pale yellow and fluffy.

  2. Warm the mascarpone in a separate bowl using a microwave on medium for 30 seconds.

  3. Fold the mascarpone into the yolks, a tablespoon at a time, and then whisk thoroughly until there are no lumps.

  4. In a separate bowl, (with clean beaters) whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.

  5. Lightly fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Leave to one side.

  6. Add the liqueur to the coffee and put in a shallow oblong dish to fit the biscuits.

To assemble the dessert: 

  1. Have all the components to hand – the mascarpone egg mix, the coffee mixture, the biscuits, the chocolate, your selected dish/dishes. 

  2. Now you are simply going to layer the dessert into your dishes, starting with the biscuits, then the mascarpone mix, then chocolate and repeat the layers until you have used all the ingredients. Finish with a layer of chocolate. 

  3. So, first, dip the biscuits one at a time (not all together) into the coffee mixture. Quickly turn over once or twice, but don’t let them become soggy. (Break into 3 pieces if you are putting them into individual dishes. Leave whole if you are using a large dish.)

  4. Put immediately into your dish and then layer as explained above. Put more biscuits to soak as you need them.

  5. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for several hours. 

  6. Immediately before serving, dust with sieved cocoa and grated chocolate. Don’t be tempted to do this earlier, as the cocoa will taste slightly stale.