Tiramisu - a very modern dessert invented in Treviso - literally translates as “pick me up”. It has to be one of the most famous of Italian desserts and deservedly so. The delicate balance of coffee and cocoa overlaying the indulgent luxury of the mascarpone with whisked egg and sugar, supported by the savoyard biscuits, is one of the great culinary combinations. Enjoy it with one of the marvellous dessert wines, such as a passito, that are a specialty of Italy. Dus from Santa Clelia Vini is a deep, deep gold in colour with a glorious bouquet full of oranges, apricots, and honey and then in the mouth there is the balancing bitterness that completes the experience - a perfect balancing act for the perfect dessert.
Serves 6 (or four, depending on how greedy we are)
2 egg whites
4 egg yolks
150g icing sugar
400g mascarpone cheese
Savoyard biscuits/sponge fingers
175 ml freshly brewed extra strong coffee
200g dark chocolate, grated
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
Make the coffee at least half an hour in advance. It must be at least room temperature when you use it.
In a grease-free bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. In another bowl beat the egg yolks and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Gently fold the mascarpone and then the egg whites into the sugar mix.
Place a layer of savoyard biscuits on the bottom of a 1.5 litre serving dish. Spoon generous amounts of coffee over the biscuits. Cover with a layer of the mascarpone cream and grated chocolate. Continue making layers until all the ingredients are used, ending with a layer of mascarpone cream. Dust with cocoa powder and grated chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving although overnight is better.