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There isn't a classic recipe for tiramisu as such, as there are many varying versions both in Italy and around the world, but the following one is, I think, the nicest I've come across. For lovers of strong coffee, dark chocolate and the rich creaminess of mascarpone it is one of the nicest, easiest and most popular desserts of the party season.


  Serves 6

 3 large egg yolks, plus 2 large egg whites
 2 oz (50 g) caster sugar
 1 x 250 g tub of mascarpone
 about 24 sponge fingers (or boudoir biscuits)
 5 fl oz (150 ml) very strong espresso coffee
 3 tablespoons dark rum
 2 oz (50 g) dark chocolate (at least 75 per cent cocoa solids), chopped
 1 level tablespoon cocoa powder
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You will also need 6 stemmed glasses, about 7 fl oz (200 ml) capacity.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Dec 1993).


First put the egg yolks into a medium-sized bowl together with the sugar and beat with an electric hand whisk on high speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture forms a light, pale mousse. In a separate large bowl, stir the mascarpone with a wooden spoon to soften it, then gradually beat in the egg yolk mixture. Between each addition, beat well until the mixture is smooth before adding more.

Now wash and dry the beaters of the whisk so they are perfectly clean, then in a third separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Now lightly fold this into the mascarpone mixture and then put the bowl to one side.

Next, break the biscuits in half, then pour the coffee and rum into a shallow dish and then dip the sponge fingers briefly into it, turning them over – they will absorb the liquid very quickly.

Now simply layer the desserts by putting 3 of the soaked sponge halves into each glass, followed by a tablespoon of mascarpone mixture and a layer of chopped chocolate.

Repeat the whole process, putting 5 halves in next, followed by the mascarpone, finishing with a layer of chopped chocolate and a final dusting of cocoa powder.

Cover the glasses with clingfilm then chill in the refrigerator for several hours and serve straight from the fridge – I think it tastes better very cold.

Note: this recipe contains raw eggs.


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