What can be more indulgent after a satisfying Italian dinner than a creamy, chocolately, boozy and utterly sinful pudding? And with the possible exception of Crème Brulée, can there be anything more sinful than Tiramisu?
I came across this recipe many years ago in a Sunday supplement magazine and happily remembered to cut it out. It’s wonderfully easy and takes only minutes to put together. What takes the time, however, is gathering a multitude of utensils and ingredients that, if you’re anything like me, you rarely otherwise use: the nutmeg at the back of the spice cupboard, for example; that bottle of Marsala that’s been gathering dust in the drinks cabinet for years; the electric whisk and not one but two mixing bowls.
It’s worth the effort, though, believe me. I’ve made this twice recently and it’s won praise indeed: one friend, who promptly declared himself a Tiramisu aficionado, gave it a definite thumbs up, (but then he’s nice like that), and another friend’s fourteen-year-old daughter declared it the best Tiramisu she’d ever had. Now that really made me proud.
For six generous portions, you will need:
60g / 2oz caster sugar
100ml / 3 ½ fl oz very strong black coffee
6 tbsp Marsala or sweet sherry**
16 sponge fingers
a pinch of nutmeg (or grating, if you’re using fresh)
250g / 8oz mascarpone
60g / 2oz plain chocolate
** If you don’t have Marsala or sweet sherry, you can get creative with other sweetish liqueurs or fortified wines. For example, my recent Tiramisus have been made using Lindisfarne Mead, bought from the ‘Holy Island’ of Lindisfarne up in the north-east of England. You’d think having been made by monks and all that it’d make the end result less sinful, but it doesn’t.
This is what you do:
Stir half the sugar into the coffee and add your Marsala.
Arrange half the sponge fingers in the bottom of a pretty serving dish, and pour half the coffee mix on top. They’ll soak it up nicely.
Separate your eggs into two mixing bowls. To the egg yolks, add the remaining sugar and a pinch or grating of nutmeg, then beat with a wooden spoon. Next, add the mascarpone and mix.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the mascarpone mix. Spoon half over the sponge fingers in your dish.
Dip the remaining sponge fingers in the rest of the coffee mix, and arrange on top of the mascarpone layer. Cover with the rest of the mascarpone mix, cover with clingfilm and chill.
Finely grate your plain chocolate. I like to do this ahead of time and store it in a little container in the fridge. Then, minutes before you serve your Tiramisu, sprinkle the chocolate on top.
Warning: eat with caution: it becomes addictive!
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