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Recently enough I was out to dinner. I always think a good judge of a restaurant is their Tiramisu. Low and behold it was on the menu and of course we had to share a portion just to finish the night off properly. It did not live up to my expectations! It was good but not great and it just didn’t have that rich creamy indulgent feeling that one wishes for in this simple little dish. It needs to be oh so light and fluffy too. It made me want to come home and whip up a whopping portion of my own recipe just to see if mine was really as good as I remembered. Well it was…

When I was young, my mother, sister and I moved to London. I am very aware that as a child I was a little horror , I threw tantrums all the time (I probably still do) and was pretty much the worst child ever! We had a couple of au pairs during my London years, some good and some not so good (pretty awful actually) but there was one who helped shape me into who I am today. Her name is Patti. She is Italian and still to this day remains a good friend. Funny how when you are a kid, everyone is so much older but last year when she came to visit, I realised just how few years were between us. She still looks the exact same to me but now we are just a few years apart in age and able to talk now as adults. It’s been twenty years since she came into my life but I still remember everything she taught me. We became so close that when the time came that she no longer needed to be my au pair that I went to stay with her and her family in the north of Italy. I to this day can still remember the smell of meat drying and fresh pasta that was in her family home. She and her mother taught me how to make Tiramisu.

I have adapted her recipe over the years and now when there is a dinner party or special occasion, I get requests for my Tiramisu. It’s best made a day head of eating so all the flavours come together and it settles properly. But here it is, one of my top secret recipes…

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TIRAMISU

  • four 250 g cartons of Mascarpone cheese
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 250 ml Kahlua or any coffee flavoured liqueur
  • 400 ml very strong cold black coffee
  • about 30 Savoiardi biscuits (Italian sponge fingers)
  • Cocoa powder to dust

THE HOW

Put the mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks into a large bowl and mix until creamy.

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Whisk the egg whites until standing in stiff peaks.

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Fold into the mascarpone mix until evenly combined. Don’t go at it too hard as you don’t want to lose the light fluffiness that the egg whites lend to the mix. And put one third of the mix into the bottom of a serving dish (mine is 18cm by 28cm).

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Mix the Kahlua and coffee together in a bowl and taking one at a time, dip one third of the biscuit into the liquid for about 10 seconds. Then I like to fully dunk the biscuit into the liquid for 2 seconds and let drip before layering on top of the first layer of mascarpone mix.

Continue until the layer is complete and then add another third of the mascarpone mix on top and then continue with the second and final layer of biscuits.

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Finish with the last layer of mascarpone mix and dust with the cocoa powder. Leave to sit in the fridge covered with cling film (so not to dry out) overnight.

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I once sat down and took out a spoon and ate the whole thing. I admit I felt pretty sick the next day but this is an irresistible desert.  Last month I made this for a dinner party in Connemara and the next morning, the small portion that was left was devoured by myself and my mother, standing in the kitchen while the morning coffee brewed. There were a few upset faces when they realised that the last portion had already been sneakily eaten. Enjoy!

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