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This quintessentially Italian dessert translates loosely as ‘pick me up’. I’ve made a nice, light version, which is so moreish you’ll be wishing you’d doubled the recipe. This is a perfect make-ahead dessert for a dinner party, or when you’re just feeling indulgent.
200 grams ladyfinger sponge biscuits
200ml espresso-strength coffee, cold
4 tablespoons Marsala (or use brandy or coffee liqueur)
3 eggs, separated (whites in one bowl, yolks in another)
100 grams caster sugar
200 grams mascarpone
50 grams dark chocolate (for grating)
4 latte glasses (or you could use coffee mugs)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chilling time: 3-4 hours
Crumble the sponge fingers into a dish so you have a mixture of fine crumbs and rough chunks. Combine the cold coffee and Marsala then pour all over the crushed sponge fingers and stir it through until all the liquid is absorbed. Don’t worry if there are the odd chunks that are dry, this adds to the texture later.
To the bowl with the egg yolks, add the caster sugar and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy and leaves a ribbon trail when dropped from a height. Add the mascarpone and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form, then fold into the mascarpone mixture in three stages, making sure the egg whites are fully incorporated.
To assemble: Place a small amount of the coffee sponge mixture in the base of each latte glass, then add a good dollop of the mascarpone mixture on top. Tap the glasses gently on the bench so that the contents level out and settle. Add a second layer of sponge mixture, making sure you cover the mascarpone layer. Then grate a fine layer of dark chocolate on top of the sponge.
Add a final layer of the mascarpone mixture, making sure it comes to just below the top of the glass. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or ideally overnight, to let the flavours develop.
Grate another layer of dark chocolate over the top just before serving.