I first ate tiramisu in an Italian restaurant in the Napa Valley in the 80s. While I was judging a restaurant wine and food matching competition some years later, Ramses chef Judith Tabron served her version for our dessert course. It was a delightful – a lovely concoction of chocolate and creaminess. I have since seen all manner of desserts masquerading as tiramisu, sometimes including fruit and often disappointingly solid and dry.
Be sure to soak the sponge fingers well before you start assembling the tiramisu so the resulting dessert is soft and almost liquid, as it should be. You can make this in a large crystal bowl and serve it directly at the table, or as individual desserts in pretty glasses.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until light. Fold in the mascarpone and then the stiffly beaten egg whites. Set aside.
- Whip the cream and mix in half the grated chocolate. Set aside.
- Combine the coffee and brandy in a shallow bowl and dip the sponge fingers into the mixture until soaked. Line the bottom of a deep, wide serving bowl or eight individual cups or glasses with sponge fingers, then cover with half the marscapone-egg mixture. Top this with half the chocolate cream.
- Place a second layer of sponge fingers over this, covering with the remaining mascarpone mix. Cover with the rest of the chocolate cream. Sprinkle over the remaining grated chocolate and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Chill for several hours. Serve large spoonfuls straight from the bowl or give everyone their own portion in a small cup or glass.