Meaning “pick me up” in Italian, Tiramisù, when done properly, is delightfully light (thanks to using mascarpone rather than stodgier, sicklier whipped cream) and sexy (thanks to the double dose of booze) when done properly. But for such an iconic Italian pudding, it’s not nearly as old as you might think; most accounts trace it back to the 1960s, with chef Carminantonio Iannaccone on Christmas Eve 1969, or a baker named Roberto Linguanotto in 1967, commonly cited as the creators.
This version is adapted from Russell Norman’s recipe, as served in his Soho restaurant Polpo.
Stir together 360ml strong coffee (six double espressos), 4 tbsp dark rum and 50g caster sugar.
Separate the yolks and whites of 6 medium eggs. Whisk the whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks, add 200g caster sugar and 120ml Marsala wine. Whisk again until pale and fluffy, and stir in 300g mascarpone. Fold the mixture into the egg yolks.
Take a packet of Savoiardi sponge fingers and dip each one into the coffee and rum for a second, so they absorb the liquid but don’t begin to disintegrate. Build a layer of fingers in a large rectangular dish, spread some of the cream mixture over the top and repeat until you have three sponge layers. Spoon the last of the cream over the top and smooth the surface with a palette knife. Rest in the fridge for at least eight hours so the pudding properly sets. Dust liberally with cocoa powder before serving.