While there is still much debate in Italy as to the exact origin of tiramisu, most believe it to have been created somewhere in the vicinity of Venice. As it happens, my fondest memory of this dessert comes from a sitting in St. Marks Square in Venice.
It is no secret that dining in one of the many restaurants or cafes in St. Marks does not come cheap. Here, you pay for the ambience. Each restaurant comes with their own singers and piano players and each compete (rather loudly) for your attention. As a traveller on a budget, I would pick a cafe based on the singers I liked, sit down, order a coffee with tiramisu and stay until closing. A truly magical time of night when tourists have long since come and gone to bed and all you hear is music and water hitting the banks of the canal.
While tiramisu is traditionally made with marsala, I opt for kahlua for more coffee flavour and an extra “pick me up”. Feel free to stick with tradition or experiment with some other liqueurs such as Baileys, chocolate liqueur or Grand Marnier.
6 large eggs
500g mascarpone cheese
200g (1 cup) sugar
500ml (2 cups) extra strong espresso
Around 50 ladyfinger biscuits (amount will vary depending on your choice of serving dish)
3oz Kahlua (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1. Sweeten coffee with some sugar from the 200g measured out. Let coffee cool before using or your ladyfingers will melt
2. Separate egg whites and yolks and keep separate.
3. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar until thick and add mascarpone. Add vanilla and beat until smooth
4. Whip egg whites to medium peak and fold into cheese mixture.
5. Once you are ready to dunk your ladyfingers into the coffee, you must work very quickly. In your serving dish layer your dunked ladyfingers until the bottom is completely covered. Try and layer as tightly as possible.
6. Spread mascarpone cream mixture on top and layer again with dunked ladyfingers and cream until you reach the top of your dish. Dust with cocoa, refrigerate and serve.