I’m a shamelessly decadent dessert person. I sometimes substitute whole main meals for great desserts. I especially love any kind of mousse, and that’s why tiramisu always gets my vote. It has all the right kinds of decadence for a grown-up dessert: a good amount of alcohol, richness, it is smooth but still light in texture, and contains just the right amount of sweetness.
When I eat out at my favourite Italian restaurant, Enrico’s in Keurboomstrand, I always end off my meal with their proper Italian tiramisu. It is only quite recently that I started making my own, after I realised how dead easy it was. I have tried a few different recipes, but my favourite remains the one from “The food of the Mediterranean: a journey for food lovers through France, Italy, Morocco & Spain” published by Murdoch Books. It doesn’t contain any cream, but rather makes the mascarpone the star of the dish. I prefer to make my tiramisu with whiskey instead of brandy, and top it off with a sprinkle of cocoa powder instead of grated chocolate – I love the slight bitterness that the cocoa powder adds.
“Tira mi su” means “pick me up” in Italian, and was originally meant to be eaten as a nourishing dish when feeling low. In my world it is always time for tiramisu: I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in summertime and in winter, when feeling low or when feeling like a million bucks! Just remember to make it a day ahead, because the texture and flavour improves significantly over time in the fridge.
5 eggs, separated
170g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
300g mascarpone cheese at room temperature (I use a 250g tub, which is also sufficient)
250 ml (1 cup) cold strong coffee
3 tablespoons brandy or sweet marsala (I use whiskey)
36 sponge fingers (Boudoir biscuits)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder to sieve over before serving
Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar untill light and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and whisk untill the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites untill soft peaks form. Fold this into the mascarpone mixture. Pour the cold coffee and whiskey into a shallow bowl. Dip biscuits one by one quickly into coffee mixture, and arrange tightly in the base of a square dish. Pour half of the mascarpone mixture over layered biscuits, and distribute evenly. Add another layer of soaked biscuits and mascarpone, and smooth the top layer neatly. Store overnight in the fridge for flavours to develop. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.