There are a lot of different versions of tiramisu out there, but this is as close to the original Italian one as it gets. Tiramisu starts with making a good zabaglione, the fluffy, light Italian custard. Making the zabaglione is the only skill required here; the rest is an easy process of layering and waiting. And then, of course, eating.
- 1-1/2 cups very strong coffee* (*Make extra-strong coffee by mixing 4 tablespoons espresso powder with 12 ounces water, or brew using your favorite method with 4 tablespoons ground coffee and 12 ounces water.)
- 30 ladyfinger cookies
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup Marsala wine
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (17.6-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder for sprinkling
Place the coffee in a wide mixing bowl. Dip half of the ladyfingers briefly in the coffee to moisten, but not so long as to soak them, then use them to line the bottom of a 10- to 12-inch baking dish.
To make the zabaglione, create a double boiler by filling a saucepan halfway with water and bringing it to a gentle boil, then place a large stainless-steel mixing bowl over the pan so it is not touching the water. Add the egg yolks, Marsala, and 4 tablespoons of the sugar to the bowl. Beat with a whisk or handheld electric mixer, whisking constantly so as not to scramble the eggs, until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan and let cool. Stir the mascarpone until it is softened, then fold it into the cooled zabaglione until just combined.
Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whip together until the cream forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until it’s completely mixed in.
Spread half of the mixture evenly over the soaked ladyfingers. Dip the remaining cookies in the coffee and lay them on top of the cream mixture. Sprinkle the cookies with more coffee so they are dark and soaked, then spread the remaining cream mixture over them.
Use a fine mesh sifter to sprinkle cocoa powder on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.