This idealistic Italian dessert may be quite popular but it resonates special memories of my Nonna (grandmother) and I. I have an abundant amount of memories of my Nonna and I cooking and laughing in the kitchen and making this classic dessert still reminds me of those times as a little girl.
1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
250ml lightly whipped double cream
2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp Tia Maria
350ml strong fresh coffee, cooled
350g sponge fingers, such as Savoiardi
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
1) Slit the vanilla pod length ways, if using, and scrape the seeds with the tip of the knife.
2) Fill a pan half way with water and bring to a simmering boil. In a heat proof bowl add the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla seeds or extract and whisk over the slow simmering water. Whisk until thick and creamy and the mixture is ready when a trail of foam forms as you lift the whisk.
3) Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled add the mascarpone and fold in the whipped cream and set aside.
4) Mix the coffee with the rum and Tia Maria. Dunk the Savoiardi or sponge fingers quickly into the coffee, making sure that they are completely immersed. Note: if using sponge fingers leave in the coffee for only 1 second, or they will turn soggy. Arrange the biscuits in a single layer in a serving bowl and spoon over half the cream mixture.
5) Repeat this process with another layer of dunked biscuits and another layer of cream. Sift over the cocoa powder in a even layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.