When I was in Italy (Albisola Superiore) a few years back I went with a friend to her grandparents' house for a family dinner. After a few hours of chatting, in what I'm sure was absolutely flawless Italian (ha, yeah right!), everyone had settled in for the evening. Suddenly there's my friend's 6-year old niece jumping up and down in front of me, chanting something. It took me a while to figure out what that was, as children's voices are pretty high-pitched and therefore often difficult to decipher when heard at speed. I figured it out and (proudly) informed her mother that the little girl wanted some dessert. She was chanting 'tiramisu! tiramisu!'. Fair conclusion eh? Now imagine a living room full of Italians laughing heartily as only they seem to know how. Turns out 'tiramisu' means 'pick me up', which is what the little girl wanted. She wanted to see my (erstwhile) nose piercing. Of course.
In NZ however you're pretty safe with assuming demands of 'tiramisu, tiramisu!' relate to hunger and a desire for dessert. Until last weekend I'd not whipped out one of these delectably indulgent treats for several years, which I now know was a foolish waste of good eating time. It is the most satisfyingly creamy, rich, but not sickly delight I think you'll come across this side of whatever the other side is. Yum yum, seriously it's so good. The marscapone can be pretty pricey, but it makes enough to feed about 6-8 people. And who knows - there might even be some left over to eat for breakfast?
From personal experience - make sure your coffee is good and strong, stronger than you'd likely drink it. If you have a coffee maker, great - short short black. The amount of sponge cake used was about 20 cm squared, standard size you might buy at the supermarket - it's best if it's a little stale, maybe a couple of days old, so it doesn't go soggy. Any container can be used, but if you have one half the size of your sponge, but twice as high, perfect (I had some sponge and cream left over, so used a couple of little ramekins as well).
2-3 eggs, separated
50 g sugar
30 ml strong coffee
cocoa, to dust
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in large bowl until pale. Beat in the cheese until creamy and smooth.
In separate bowl beat egg whites until fluffy and peaks can form.
Gently fold whites into marscapone mixture. This is now marscapone cream.
Cover the base of your dish with sponge. Drizzle with coffee (not too much, as you want moistened, but not saturated). Cover with marscapone cream. Repeat.
Dust with cocoa and chill in fridge for at least an hour.
Serve by itself, or with some fresh berries alongside.
Nb: If you want the taste of berries (which go really well), but it's winter, grab some frozen or tinned ones and add a layer of berries between the sponge and cream. Make sure they're well drained, or omit the coffee and use a little berry juice instead.