Since I was making an Italian feast for Christmas dinner this year, Tiramisu seemed like the obvious dessert to finish off the meal. With that in mind, I searched through plenty of recipes and landed on Chef Dennis Littley's "go to" recipe.
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cup mascarpone cheese
1¾ cup heavy whipping cream
2 - 7oz. packages Italian Lady fingers
1 cup cold espresso
½ cup coffee flavored liqueur (optional)
1 tbsp. cocoa for dusting
Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. This is your sabayon. Remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
Add mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them!
Arrange the lady finger in the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish (or container similarly sized). Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat the process with another layer of lady fingers and cream.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Dust with cocoa before serving.
Now, let me offer some tips....first, I would say the choice of lady fingers is critical. I used the fresh lady fingers that my local grocer makes. You can see from the picture, they're small in both length and depth. I believe had I gone with true Italian lady fingers (Savoiardi) each layer of lady fingers would have been separated much better from the cheese mixture. The flavor was outstanding, but I would have liked a better looking finished product.
I did not use espresso in mine; I chose to just use coffee and I found the flavor was great. In fact, my son-in-law said he liked it more than some versions he's had since it had a more subtle coffee flavor.
Everybody at the dinner table enjoyed it, including me....and it wasn't quite as daunting as I had originally thought.
I will definitely make it again in the future. By-the-way, I thought it actually tasted better on the second day!