The name tiramisu translates as "pick me up" which comes from the fact that it is so good that it literally makes you swoon when you eat it.
I was given a bottle of Cognac and to be honest, I am not one for sipping this beautiful copper liquid neat. But in a tiramisu it gives a spectacular depth of flavour. I'll trade my ice blocks for mascapone with this brandy any day.
There are many versions of the recipe that can be adapted to suit your own taste - vary the liqueur or add double cream if you like.
This version is a real crowd pleaser!
3 eggs separated
450g/2 cups mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
2.5ml vanilla essence
200ml cold, very strong black coffee
3 tablespoons Cognac, brandy or rum
36 Sponge finger biscuits
Sifted cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate to finish
Put the eggs in a grease-free bowl and whisk with electric mixer until stiff peaks stage.
Mix the egg yolks, vanilla essence and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale. Add a little of the mascarpone and combine well. The add the reminder of the mascarpone and combine well. Fold in the egg whites.
Mix the coffee and Cognac together in a shallow dish. Dip the sponge finger in the mixture and turn quickly so that the biscuit does not disintegrate. Place a layer of dipped sponge fingers on the bottom, add a layer of the mascarpone mixture and spread evenly. Add another layer of dipped sponge fingers and spoon the remaining mascarpone mixture evenly on the top.
Cover and chill overnight.
Before serving sprinkle a thin layer of cocoa powder and grated chocolate.
Serves 6-8. (or 4 of us twice, it was so good)