My husband and I recently hosted a dinner party where I served pasta (with basil pesto for the vegetarians and bolognese sauce for the carnivores). The natural ending to the Italian inspired dinner was a light, delicious Italian dessert. I decided to make a tiramisu: it’s the perfect combination of a rich indulgent dessert while still remaining light and airy. I used to make tiramisu regularly because it is easy to prepare and can be done in advance of whatever event you’re hosting or attending. You can substitute a different type of liquor for the not-so-traditional Khalua I use (traditionally, tiramisu includes Tia Maria). You can, if you really want to shirk tradition, also use sponge cake or a different soft cookie in place of the savoiardi. Granted, this will result in your tiramisu becoming more like a trifle, but it will still include the traditional raw eggs and marscapone. In fact, last Pesach (Passover) I made a matzo cake meal sponge cake, sliced it and used the pieces in place of savoiardi. The result was a delicious, kosher for Pesach tiramisu inspired dessert.
2 cups freshly brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
1/4 cup Khalua (obviously this is not traditional but I like the taste with the coffee)
Several packages of savoiardi (I prefer the savoiardi that have a slight crunch and sprinkle of sugar on top but they are hard to find)
500g mascarpone (a delicious, sweet Italian cream cheese)
5 tbsps sugar
Cocoa for sifting between layers and on top
Semi sweet chocolate, shaved for on top of the finished cake (if desired)
Separate the yolks from the whites into two different mixing bowls (larger for the yolks). In the bowl with the yolks, add your sugar and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix thoroughly with your yolks and sugar until the smooth.
In the other mixing bowl, beat egg whites until they turn into fluffy white peaks. This is easiest if you allow your whites to reach room temperature before whipping them.
Carefully fold the egg whites into the creamy yolk mixture.
In another bowl, mix together espresso and Khalua. I find pouring my coffee mixture into a shallow dish makes it easier to dip the savoiardi. Dip cookies in the coffee mixture for a few seconds, making sure they are wet on the outside but still somewhat dry in the middle. Arrange dipped cookies in one tightly packed layer on the bottom of a cake pan.
Pour 1/2 of the cream on top of the cookies and spread evenly. Sift cocoa over the cake. Add a second layer of savoiardi. This time, soak each cookie until saturated but not soggy. Place the cookies in a tight layer on the cake.
Spread the remaining marscapone mixture evenly over the savoiardi. Sprinkle more cocoa over the cake. Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap and leave it to rest in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight. Before serving, sprinkle the tiramisu with chocolate shavings if desired.