The word “tiramisu” literally translates as “pick me up”. This layered dessert probably earned it’s name because of the delicious coffee syrup soaked sponge that make up its base. It is believed tiramisu originates from Tuscany, which is famous for other layered cakes, however, it doesn’t appear to be a very old recipe. Tiramisu often includes a liqueur in the coffee syrup, which is why many people regard it as the Italian equivalent to trifle. The best tiramisus leak coffee syrup onto your plate, and always taste better the day after they are made. I came up with this recipe a few years ago when I was commissioned to write a children's international cookbook. Sadly, the book never eventuated, but this recipe has become legend in my house, with even my non-dessert eating husband slurping it up!

3 egg yolks
¼ cup caster sugar
1 tblsp corn flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
250ml milk
500ml marscarpone cheese
2 tblsp instant coffee powder
2 tblsp sugar
500ml boiling water
1/4 cup Marsala wine
one nine inch sponge cake, cut into four layers
¼ cup cocoa powder
300ml whipped cream

1. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Whisk until the mixture turns pale.
2. Add the milk and whisk to combine with the egg mix. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Cook through for one minute. Pour the custard into a glass bowl and set aside until completely cool.
3. Place the coffee powder and sugar in a measuring jug. Add 300ml boiling water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.
4. Beat the marscarpone cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer for 1 minute. Spoon in the custard and mix on slow to combine.
5. Line the cake tin you baked the sponge cake in with Glad wrap, ensuring there's plenty of overhang. Place the layer that will be the top face down in the tin. Soak the sponge with a quarter of the coffee syrup, then cover with marscapone mix. Repeat with all other layers. Seal the cake with the Glad wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
6. Turn the cake out onto a serving plater or cake stand and ease the Glad wrap away. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the top and dust heavily with extra cocoa.

Makes 10 serves.


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