It makes me blush now when I remember my once snooty disdain for tiramisu. Still, I feel my slight against the dish has been repaid in full, and then some. This version had been hovering at the back of my mind for quite some time before I first made it. Now try and stop me. Frangelico is one of my favourite sticky liqueurs: I love the bottle, which comes as though it's dressed in a cassock; I love the taste and smell, the nuttiest of all hazelnuts. There's almost a buttery richness, but - and this is what heads off the sweetness - a dark smokiness beyond, much darker than its appropriately hazelnut hue would lead you to expect.
In bars in Italy, especially in the northwest, you can get a caffe corretto with Frangelico, in other words a shot of espresso fortified (literally, here, 'corrected') with a hit of this. Of course you can have your coffee 'corrected' with a choice of many liqueurs, but this is my favourite (I'm also very keen on a snifter of espresso liqueur to which a drop or two of Frangelico has been added) and that exact co-mingling of flavours is what I'm aiming for here.
The recipe that follows is for an amply proportioned tiramisu, enough to fill a 9-inch square dish and feed a good 12 people. I went completely over the top during the photo shoot, and doubled quantities. Before then I never believed you could have too much of a good thing. Mind you, it didn't put me off for long: I'm always up for a bowl of this boozy, creamy lusciousness, and I'll think you find others are, too.
Note: As this dish contains raw egg, it is not suitable for people with compromised or weak immune systems, such as younger children, the elderly, or pregnant women.
- 1 cup espresso coffee, or 8 teaspoons espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup Frangelico hazlenut liqueur, plus more for the filling
For the filling:
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup Frangelico hazlenut liqueur
- 1 pound (2 cups) mascarpone
- 30 Savoiardi biscuits (lady fingers), approx. 14 ounces
- 3/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Special equipment: 8-inch square dish
Combine the coffee and 1 cup Frangelico in a pitcher, and allow to cool if the coffee is hot.
Whisk the egg whites till frothy. In a separate bowl beat the yolks and sugar with the 1/4 cup Frangelico for the filling. Add the mascarpone to the yolks and sugar mixture, beating it in well to mix. Gently fold in the foamy egg whites, and mix again.
Pour half of the coffee and Frangelico mixture into a wide shallow bowl and dunk enough Savoiardi cookies for a layer, about 4 at a time, into the liquid, coating both sides. Line your tiramisu dish with the soaked Savoiardi cookies; they should be damp but not falling to pieces (though it wouldn't matter if they did). Pour any leftover liquid from the dipping process over the layer you have made.
Put half the mascarpone mixture on top of the soaked cookies and spread to make an even layer. Pour the remaining coffee and Frangelico mixture from the pitcher into the shallow dish and make another, final, layer of Savoiardi, dipping as before and layering on top of the mascarpone in the dish.
Pour any leftover liquid over the Savoiardi layer, and then cover with the final layer of mascarpone. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and leave overnight, or for at least 6 hours, in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to serve, take the tiramisu out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Mix the chopped roasted hazelnuts with 2 teaspoons of cocoa and sprinkle over the top layer of mascarpone. Then dust with the final teaspoon of cocoa powder, pushing it through a strainer for lighter coverage, over the nut-rubbly tiramisu.
*RAW EGG WARNING
Make Ahead Note: The tiramisu can be made 1 to 2 days ahead and stored in refrigerator. It will keep for up to 4 days in total and leftovers should be refrigerated immediately.
Freeze Note: The tiramisu can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the tiramisu (without hazelnut and cocoa topping) in double layer of plastic wrap and layer of aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in refrigerator and top with nuts and cocoa, as directed in recipe.
* Raw Egg Warning
Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.