It’s been far too long and this is but a brief return to dad at the weekend – I will be back though – just give me a few weeks and I’ll return from the land of the homeless and kick off again…
So here we are in Dartmouth in the heart of the English Riviera – a lovely seaside (or should it be estuary-side?) town full of anorak-clad tourists and resentful natives (which is bizarre given that the majority of the natives are only able to feed their families thanks to the anorak-clad tourists). We’re visiting Grandpa and Sally and good food is at the top of the agenda (after swimming, crabbing and generally playing havoc with my fathers customers in the gallery).
My job was pudding – and I decided to make something I haven’t made for years – Tiramisu – as taught to me by Barbara and Carol – two Italian friends who, like most Italians, know which side of their ciabatta is oiled.
For the uninitiated, there are two big Tiramisu debates – alcohol vs no alcohol; and Savoiardi vs Pavesini. According to the Barbara and Carol school it’s no alcohol and its pavesini every time (unfortunately the shelf stacker in Dartmouth’s shiny new Sainsburys didn’t have a clue what I was talking about so last night’s pud was made with sponge fingers – generally the closest a briton can get)
Anyway here goes –
Separate four large very fresh organic eggs and add 6 tablespoons of caster sugar to the yolks (or more if you want it sweet) and beat with a whisk until they have roughly doubled in sized a turned from bright yellow to a rich creamy colour.
Now take two 250g tubs of mascarpone and mix in with the beaten egg yolk mixture.
Whisk half of the eggs whites to stiff peaks (I’ll come back to this in a mo)
Brew a pot of very good very strong black coffee – enough to fill a large mug.
Next, take a suitable dish (best rectangular and not too deep) then take the biscuits and submerge each one into the coffee ensuring they get a good soaking but don’t get completely soggy (I normally dip for about a second) and place each one into the dish, side by side covering the bottom. After a little while check that they have gone spongy – if they haven’t just dribble a tiny bit of coffee over them to wet them a little more.
Now – this is where I departed from B&Cs recipe (and I think it worked) – firstly, add a few drops of vanilla extract into the mascarpone egg mixture, then fold in the two stiffly beaten egg whites. The latter makes the pud just a little lighter (so you can eat more).
Then spoon the mixture over the biscuits.
Depending on the size of the dish, you can either do a single layer, or two layers of biscuits – but you must end with a good thick layer of the mascarpone mixture on top. If in doubt stick to one layer.
Now put the whole lot in the fridge until about 20 mins before serving…
…and then comes my final departure. B&C would go for a simple dusting of cocoa powder just before serving (tastes lovely but if you leave it too long before serving it can get damp and looks bad). Last night however I went for finely grated Green and Blacks milk chocolate, which not only tastes brilliant, it also stays looking great however long you leave it.
That’s it – perfect with an orange muscat. (and even better a day later straight out of the fridge for lunch)
I hope you enjoy it Sally!