When we used to go on holiday to Italy, dessert would come and my family would be served rich tiramisus soaked in strong espressos. As a child, the thought of eating anything with coffee in was terrifying, and so I was given ice cream topped with wafers, chocolate and an array of other sweet items. It was just the dream.
Now, as a tiramisu lover, I look forward to future trips to Italy where I can indulge in creamy desserts and rich coffees.
At Christmas, our usual dessert is Nigel Slater’s caramelised hazelnut tiramisu. The best way to finish a feast, is with a feast for dessert, too! The caramelised hazelnuts add a lovely crunch that breaks through the smooth mascarpone filling. Nigel suggests using Frangelico, the liquor that comes in a quaint bottle, but if you can’t find any, use Disaronno instead. It adds the same sweetness and a nutty flavour, too.
It’s the mixture of creamy mascarpone, soft sponge fingers, the kick of Disaronno and crunch of hazelnuts that makes tiramisu an almost perfect dessert.
I don’t think tiramisu should be restricted to Christmas Day or warm Italian nights, just your average Sunday will do.
The Recipe – Originally from Nigel Slater
200g skinned hazelnuts
150g caster sugar
200g sponge fingers
150ml espresso coffee
7 tbsp. Disaronno
3 eggs, separated
2 tsp. cocoa powder
– Lightly toast the skinned hazelnuts in a frying pan.
– Add 100g of the caster sugar, and leave to caramelise. Don’t move the pan, simply turn the hazelnuts over with a spoon.
– Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Turn the caramelised hazelnuts onto the baking sheet and leave to cool.
– In a dish, place one layer of sponge fingers. Cover with half of the coffee and a couple of tbsps. of Disaronno.
– In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 50g sugar until pale.
– Mix in the mascarpone.
– In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until firm.
– Mix the egg whites into the mascarpone and another 2 tbsps. of Disaronno.
– Top the sponge fingers with half of the mascarpone.
– Place the hazelnuts in a bag and crush with a rolling pin.
– Sprinkle over half of the hazelnuts.
– Repeat all the layers again and top with the remaining hazelnuts.
– Dust with the cocoa powder.
– Leave in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it.