There is a considerable argument about the origins of Tiramisu, with some claiming its creation to the 1960s, while others reckon it could go back as far at the 17th century. Whatever its origins, it is definitely Italian, as its name, meaning ‘pick-me-up’ or ‘give-me-a-lift’ would imply, and there are many variations on this basic theme of ladyfinger biscuits [Savoiardi in Italian, Boudoir in French], separated eggs, mascarpone and chocolate, all of them delicious. This is my take on a very popular theme.



3 eggs, separated.

¼ cup caster sugar.

250g mascarpone at room temperature.

60+g [¼ of a 250g block] 70% dark chocolate, grated.

200ml black coffee.

60ml Kahlua.

12 ladyfinger biscuits.

250ml cream [optional].

Cocoa for sprinkling [optional].



Place the egg yolks and the sugar in a bowl and whisk until thickened, then whisk in the mascarpone and the grated chocolate until fully combined. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they thicken and form peaks. Gently fold the whites into the mascarpone mixture until fully combined.

Into each of 4 250-300 ml glasses [flat bottomed old-fashioned type glasses are best] place 3 ladyfinger biscuits. Mix the coffee and Kahlua together and pour equally into the four glasses on top of the biscuits. With the blunt end of a wooden spoon, gently press down on the biscuits, crushing them and pushing them into the coffee mixture, until fully incorporated into a thick layer at the bottom of the glass.

Top with the mascarpone mix, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Before serving, if you wish to further garnish them, top each glass with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa.


Yields: 4 servings.

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