Although tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert, I got my recipe from Andy's aunt. She's a down-to-earth Derbyshire woman, and about as un-Italian as you could imagine, but she does make a mean tiramisu. I tweaked her recipe a little, adding more brandy, and also some dark chocolate for a bit of a different texture.
I decided to make individual portions, partly because I wanted to use these gorgeous new dessert bowls from Red Candy, a UK shop specialising in funky red (and to a lesser extent purple) kitchenware. These bowls are 11.5cm across (4½in), and the recipe really fills them up. This makes for very generous portions - to the extent that I could only eat half of mine in one sitting.
Italian Tiramisu Recipe
For the cream:
250g mascarpone cheese
2tbsp double cream
50g icing sugar
For the sponge:
8 trifle sponge fingers
100ml strong coffee (cold)
20g dark chocolate shavings
1tsp cocoa powder
- Cream the mascarpone together with the double cream, icing sugar, and brandy, and whisk until smooth.
- Combine the cold coffee with 1tbsp of brandy.
- Soak the trifle fingers in the coffee, for a couple of seconds each side. Start with half of the trifle fingers, and arrange on the bottom of two small dessert bowls. You may need to cut some of the fingers in half to fit in better; fortunately they'll bend once they're saturated with coffee.
- Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the trifle sponge.
- Spoon a quarter of the cream mixture into each bowl, and spread out to fill the gaps between the sponge fingers.
- Soak the remaining trifle fingers in the remaining coffee mixture, and arrange on top of the cream.
- Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, holding back a few shards to decorate the top.
- Divide the remaining cream between the two bowls, and spread out to a smooth surface.
- Dust the top with cocoa powder, and decorate with a few chocolate shavings.
- Chill for at least a couple of hours before serving - overnight is even better to allow the flavours to mature.