Monday, 18 April 2011


Tiramisu varies hugely. Sometimes I wonder if it’s like chow mein, a recipe made for foreigners. I can’t find trace of it in my Italian cookbooks. It is a rich indulgence, and I prefer to eat it at the end of a light meal, with a demi-tasse of good coffee. I am toying with the idea of making it into an ice cream.

This mixture is meant to be enough for 4 servings – I find it’s enough for 8, using quite large glasses. If you must, eat it at once, but it is better prepared at least a day before, and will keep for at least three days, providing you hide it from the greedy and exercise restraint. The flavour and consistency are better.

150ml very strong hot espresso coffee, or double strength instant coffee
80g caster sugar
2 tbsp sweet spirit, like amaretto
4 eggs, separated
100ml double cream
250g mascarpone cheese
300g sponge fingers
2–3 tbsp finely grated plain chocolate or sifted cocoa powder

You’ll need an electric whisk, three large bowls, a shallow bowl for the coffee and something to cut the coffee soaked the sponge fingers on.


  • Pour the hot coffee into a shallow dish and stir in half the sugar (40g).
  • Add the alcohol and stir – set aside to cool.
  • Separate  the egg yolks from the egg whites into two large bowls.
  • Whisk the egg whites with an electric beater in a large bowl until soft peaks form, then set aside.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and the other 40g of sugar together, until the mixture becomes pale.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the double cream into soft peaks – better soft than dry, so don’t overdo it. Stir in the mascarpone, whip for a moment to get rid of any lumps.
  • Fold the mascarpone mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the whisked egg whites, about a third at a time. Use a cutting motion to try and keep some airy volume, until everything is mixed well together.
  • The coffee mixture should have cooled by now – dip the sponge fingers one at a time in the liquid. They need to be soaked but not soggy. Cut to fit the glass you’re using.
  • Spoon the cream mixture to make another layer, then add more soaked sponge fingers and another layer
  • To serve, dust the chocolate/coa powder on top of the final layer of cream mixture.

Chill for 24 hours before serving.

I like to add a sprinkle of the chocolate before each layer of soaked sponge…

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