This particular tiramisù recipe is straight from the mouth of a Sicilian mamma and these diminutive but formidable ladies know how to cook. Split the word into three and you have the essence of the dish – tirare=to pull; mi=me and sù=up – a sugar/caffeine/cake combo to propel you into the New Year with all the dynamism of Russell Grant flying out of a Strictly cannon. Don’t be shy about eating it for breakfast either, it’s just like a cup of coffee-ish (with extras).
Thought to be a late twentieth-century recipe that was first prepared in Treviso in 1971, tiramisù is a simple yet alchemic combination of biscuits soaked in coffee with a mascarpone custard, topped with cocoa – essentially a tweaked-up version of a much older Italian dessert – zabaglione. Chuck in some booze with the mascarpone for added propulsion.
Done well, it is a simple, delicious, luxurious dessert that never fails to impress and will feed up to 12 or more. Done badly, it can be an ice cream travesty in a plastic bowl or a dry cardboard experience that sucks the moisture out of your mouth, hurling you to the cold hard floor of food delusion rather than picking you up. The secret? Make your own and this is the best I have tried so far (and I have tried many).
Saffronbunny’s Sicilian Mamma Tiramisù
4 egg yolks and 1 egg white
150g unrefined sugar
2 packs trifle sponges: (Pavesini or Savoiardi from a deli better if possible)
10 cups Italian espresso (cooled and sweetened with 4 dessertspoons of sugar – sugar can be reduced according to taste)
Put the mascarpone, yolks and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat into a smooth custard. Fold in the whisked egg white.
Put half the biscuits in the bottom of a large ceramic/foil baking tray and soak with half the cooled coffee, add half the mascarpone custard, then repeat with the rest of the biscuits, the coffee and the custard. Sieve cocoa on the top. Leave at least overnight if not 2 nights. Enjoy.