Every year, my lovely octogenarian neighbour June gives me a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label.
As I’m not a huge whisky drinker, every year, I turn it into three litres of homemade Irish Cream. Just before Christmas, I snuck jam jars’ full of “Festive Mother’s Helper” into my girlfriends’ fridges.
I was wondering what to do with the litre left in my own fridge when I came across this recipe by Nigella Lawson. I tweaked the ingredients just a little bit…
- 3 shots of Nespresso coffee, with water added to bring it up to 350ml
- 250ml (1 cup) of homemade Irish Cream
- 400g savoiardi biscuits
- 2 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
- 60g caster sugar
- 500 grams mascarpone cheese
- dutch cocoa powder
Tiramisu is very easy to make, but can sometimes end up a little soggy. My chef friend Dotti gave me a few tips to ensure a perfect result.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, then fold in the mascarpone and ¼ cup Irish Cream. Whisk the whites until soft peaks form and carefully fold them into the mascarpone mixture. Be sure to use the freshest eggs you can find, as they won’t be cooked (ours were laid that morning).
In a large bowl, mix together the diluted coffee and remaining Irish Cream.
Now, here’s Dot’s first trick of the trade. Don’t soak the savoiardi biscuits. Holding them sideways (like this ⊂⊃), dip the bottom half into the liquid and pull it straight back out. Flip over and repeat with the top half. The biscuits might look a little dry, but fear not, they’ll absorb more liquid after the tiramisu is assembled and create a perfect sponge layer in the finished dessert.
Her second tip is to stand the bottom layer of biscuits on their side rather than laying them flat. This creates a slightly thicker base which is less likely to end up soggy.
Cover the base with a row of (barely) soaked soldiers, then top with half the mascarpone mixture. Then add another row of (barely) soaked biscuits – I laid them flat for the second layer – and top with more mascarpone. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight. Dust with cocoa just before serving.
I didn’t remember to take a photo before serving, but hey, it was Christmas. See how the thicker base has formed a perfect, non-soggy sponge layer?
Dotti’s final tip…and this one is genius…is that the assembled tiramisu freezes brilliantly. I had sufficient quantities to make one dish for our dinner plus two takeaway containers’ worth. Defrost overnight in the fridge (ideally), then smooth out the top, dust with cocoa and serve. It’s an easy dessert to keep on hand for last minute dinner parties…
So…that leaves me with just half a litre of my home brew in the fridge. Any suggestions?