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Be­gin this recipe at least 4 hours ahead. You will need a sugar ther­mome­ter.

4 egg yolks, plus 7 egg­whites 575g caster sugar 4 cups (1kg) mas­car­pone 11/ 2 tbs Strega (Ital­ian liqueur – from

bot­tle shops) 11/ 2 tbs white sam­buca 375ml espresso cof­fee (sub­sti­tute

1/ 2 cup [20g] in­stant cof­fee dis­solved in 11/ 2 cups [375ml] boil­ing wa­ter) 18 (150g) sponge finger bis­cuits

(savoiardi) 100g dark (70%) choco­late,

finely chopped 2 tsp ground cof­fee

(sub­sti­tute in­stant cof­fee) 1 tbs good-qual­ity co­coa pow­der, sifted

In a stand mixer fit­ted with the whisk at­tach­ment, whisk egg yolks and 75g sugar un­til pale and fluffy. Slowly whisk in mas­car­pone, Strega and sam­buca un­til just com­bined. Trans­fer to a large bowl.

Com­bine 1/2 cup (125ml) wa­ter and re­main­ing 500g sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stir­ring con­stantly, un­til sugar is dis­solved. Bring to the boil and cook, with­out stir­ring, un­til 114°C on a sugar ther­mome­ter (this should take about 5 min­utes).

Mean­while, in the cleaned stand mixer, whisk egg­whites to soft peaks. With the mo­tor run­ning, add sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream un­til com­bined. Con­tinue whisk­ing for 15-20 min­utes or un­til egg­white mix­ture has com­pletely cooled. Fold meringue into mas­car­pone mix­ture.

Place espresso in a heat­proof bowl and stand to cool if hot. In batches, dip one-third savoiardi in espresso, gen­tly press out ex­cess and line base of a large 2L (8-cup) bowl. Top with one-third mas­car­pone mix­ture and scat­ter with half each dark choco­late and ground cof­fee. Re­peat lay­er­ing process, fin­ish­ing with the fi­nal one-third mas­car­pone. Dust with co­coa pow­der, then chill for 3 hours to set slightly and for flavours to de­velop.

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