Serves: 8 to 10
2 cups sugar, divided in half
10 eggs, separated
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
2 cups brewed espresso, chilled
1 cup brandy (optional)
4 packages lady fingers
Cocoa powder for dusting
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the espresso and brandy together and set aside.
Using the whip attachement of an electric mixer, whip one cup of sugar with the egg yolks on medium speed for about five minutes. The mixture will double in size and become pale yellow in color.
Add the mascarpone cheese and change the whip attachment to the paddle. Mix on medium speed until the cheese is incorporated into the mixture. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whip the other cup of sugar with the egg whites until medium-firm peaks are formed. (If you don’t have two bowls for your mixer, use a hand-held mixer.) Gently fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture.
In an 8×12 glass baking dish, spread one layer of the cheese mixture on the bottom. Dip the lady fingers in the espresso/brandy mixture very quickly (no more than five seconds), and layer them evenly on top of the cheese.
Make another layer of cheese and lady fingers, finishing with one last layer of cheese. Dust generously with cocoa powder and chill for at least 24 hours before serving.
Tony’s Tip: Soak the ladyfingers just before each layer so that they do not become soggy.
To store: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 or 4 days, or cover with two layers of plastic wrap and top with aluminum foil to freeze for up to 3 months, without the cocoa powder. Thaw for 24 hours and dust with cocoa powder before serving.
Raw Egg Warning: While we have never found this to be an issue, there can be concern in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness.
To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. You may also choose to use pasteurized eggs, in whole or liquid form.