If you’re unfamiliar with tiramisu, it’s basically a no-bake cake made up of ladyfinger cookies that have been dipped in espresso and then layered with a whipped cream and mascarpone mixture. I decided to base my recipe off of this one, but instead of using coffee liquor in the espresso I used hazelnut liquor, and I also cut down on the number of ladyfingers since I made mine in a circular cake pan so I didn’t need as many.
Here the egg yolks are beaten in the top of a double boiler with some sugar and sweet marsala wine until thick and frothy. Then the mascarpone is stirred in until it’s nice and melty and smooth. After that cools down, you whip up some whipped cream and then fold the mascarpone mixture into it. And that’s what you layer between the coffee/hazelnut liquor-dipped ladyfinger cookies. Holy. Crap.
I couldn’t wait to layer the cake to try it, and after licking the spatula I used to fold the mascarpone mixture together I immediately became a tiramisu convert. Seriously, this is so much better than the stuff at the store, and whisking the egg yolks is the most ‘difficult’ part of this recipe. You don’t even need to turn the oven on, yay!!! I did eventually try a slice after I layered everything and let it solidify a bit in the fridge, and it was just ridiculous. So, so amazingly good. After you try this you’ll be a tiramisu convert, too, I swear.
For the hazelnut ladyfinger cake, stir together the boiling water, espresso powder, hazelnut liqueur, and sugar in a large heat-safe bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala until thick, silky, and roughly tripled in volume, about 6 to 10 minutes, whisking constantly as fast as you can.
Remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone and salt until the mascarpone completely melts into the the mixture and is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 6 minutes, keeping a close eye so that you don’t over-beat it.
Fold the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream until smooth.
To assemble, dip a ladyfinger into the espresso mixture and place it on the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan. Repeat, arranging the ladyfingers so that they’re pointing out from the center, breaking them into smaller pieces if necessary to fill in the gaps and create a single full layer of dipped ladyfingers.
Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the cookies, then repeat the ladyfinger and then mascarpone layers again so you have two layers of ladyfingers and two layers of mascarpone. Cover the cake and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours to allow it to set.
Remove it from the refrigerator and lightly dust with cocoa powder before serving. Serve chilled and refrigerate any leftovers.