Making this classic Italian dessert is surprisingly easy. Start the custard with a traditional Marsala-flavored zabaglione -- a cooked mixture of egg yolks and sugar. Then lighten it with tangy mascarpone cheese, which provides just the right creamy, mousse-like texture. Once assembled, the ladyfingers soften sufficiently after 4 hours in the refrigerator, but if you can wait longer, the flavors will meld even more.
Serving size: 8
Calories per serving: 81
4 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sweet marsala
2-8 ounces containers (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese
4 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3 to 4 tablespoons sweet marsala (see cook's note)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
1-7 ounces package ladyfingers, such as savoiardi (see cook's note)
To assemble: Stir together 1 1/4 cups hot water, espresso powder and 3 to 4 tablespoons Marsala in a liquid measuring cup. Evenly divide the mixture between two medium bowls. Dust the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with 1 teaspoon cocoa powder.
Working one at a time, dip half of the ladyfingers into one bowl of the espresso mixture for 2 seconds per side, until soaked but not soggy. Arrange them over the cocoa powder in one layer, breaking up as needed to fill in any gaps. Pour any remaining liquid from the first bowl over the layer of ladyfingers. Spread half the mascarpone custard over the ladyfingers. Repeat the process with another layer of ladyfingers and the remaining bowl of espresso mixture, then spread with the remaining mascarpone custard.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Sift the remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder over the top just before serving.
We found that store-bought ladyfingers can vary from soft (like cake) to hard (like biscotti). Savoiardi-brand ladyfingers have the perfect light, crisp texture and hold their shape best. If not available, lightly brush the espresso onto the soft variety. The firmer variety should be soaked in the espresso longer. For a slightly boozier tiramisu, use 4 tablespoons of the sweet Marsala in the espresso mixture.
Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.