In 1990 I was working at the Chadstone Shopping Centre. The food court downstairs was relatively new to the centre and Chadstone was about half the size of the 2015 version. One Saturday morning I ventured downstairs to the food court a little hungover, and at the cafe downstairs, saw a dessert called Tiramisu, with the translation saying “pick me up.” I thought it was just what I needed to alleviate my hangover. I bought a coffee and on first bite, thought this was one of the best desserts I had ever tasted. It certainly is a pick- me- up. It was rich, indulgent, creamy, with a tinge of coffee liqueur flavour and from that moment on I was hooked. That’s when my quest for the perfect Tiramisu recipe began. There have been various versions I’ve tried over the years, but this one is the best by Jill Dupleix.
Make sure you make strong espresso coffee, use a good quality mascarpone cheese, buy good savoiardi or ladyfinger biscuits. I used Vicenzi sponge finger biscuits, Kahlua and Dutch cocoa (which is less bitter and darker than standard cocoa powder). Pavesini biscuits which are thinner and smaller are also worth a try.
3 cups (750ml strong black coffee cooled)
3 tbls dark rum (or Kahlua or Marsala)
2 eggs separated
3 tblsp caster sugar
1 cup cream whipped
16 large savoirdi (ladyfinger) biscuits (or more)
2 tsps dark cocoa powder
Put coffee and liqueur in a bowl. Using electric beaters, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl for 3 minutes or until thick and pale. Add the mascarpone and beat until just combined. Fold in whipped cream with a metal spoon
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold quickly and lightly into the cream mixture with a metal spoon, trying not to lose the volume.
Dip half the biscuits, one at a time, into the coffee mixture, drain off any excess and arrange in the base of a deep serving dish (I used a rectangular dish ~20 wide x 30cm long). Spread half the cream mixture over biscuits.
Dip the remaining biscuits and repeat the layers. Smooth the surface and dust liberally with cocoa powder. refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm to allow flavours to develop. Tiramisu does taste better and is firmer the day after.
At the two hour mark it is slightly softer, but if you can’t wait until the next day, dig in.
Serve with coffee or tea.