For the mascarpone mixture
6 egg yolks
33/100 cup sugar
18 oz mascarpone cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
To soak and top the tiramisu
67/100 cup espresso coffee
4 tbsp Tia Maria
4 tbsp brandy
32 Italian ladyfingers, or savoiardi
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp espresso powder
confectioner's sugar, to serve (optional)
Prepare the mascarpone mixture
Put the egg yolks and sugar in a large heatproof bowl and beat them with an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan of hot, but not simmering, water. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk for 3–5 minutes, until pale and thick enough to leave a “ribbon” trail when the whisk is lifted.
Take the bowl from the pan of hot water, and continue beating for 1–2 minutes, until the mixture has cooled slightly. Let cool completely. Combine the mascarpone and vanilla extract in another bowl, and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolk and sugar mixture to the mascarpone, and fold them together.
Assemble the tiramisu
Combine the espresso, Tia Maria, and brandy in a shallow dish. Dip each of the ladyfingers, cut-side down, in the coffee, then place in the bottom of a large serving dish.
Continue to moisten a third of the ladyfingers, to make a single layer. Sprinkle them with 2 tbsp of the remaining coffee mixture.
Spoon one-third of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers to cover them completely. Continue layering the moistened ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture, ending with a layer of mascarpone.
Smooth the surface with a large metal spoon. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours. Mix together the cocoa and coffee powders. Sift them over the top of the tiramisu, then sift over confectioner's sugar, if using, and serve.
To be truly authentic, use espresso coffee. This can be assembled 2 days ahead and kept, covered, in the refrigerator. Add the cocoa and coffee decoration just before serving.
Formulation courtesy of "The Illustrated Step-By-Step Cook"