From Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson
100 ml espresso coffee (or strong instant coffee)
2 tbsp coffee liqueur
4 savoiardi biscuits (fine sponge fingers)
2 large egg whites
250 g mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp marsala
approx. 1 tsp good-quality cocoa powder
You will need 4 x small (approx. 125ml / ½ cup) martinieu glasses.
1.Make your espresso and pour it into a heatproof jug, adding the coffee liqueur, then leave it to cool. I find 10 minutes outside the window on a cool day does it!
2.Break each Savoiardi sponge finger into about 4 and drop the pieces into the martini glasses, then pour the cooled espresso mixture over them. Tamp down gently, making sure the biscuits are soaked all over.
3.Using an electric hand-held whisk for ease, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, and set aside for a moment.
4.Scrape the mascarpone into another bowl, adding the honey; I love the way its mellow sweetness marries with the Marsala, though sugar would be fine too. Beat with the whisk (no need to clean it out first) and, when smooth, slowly beat in the Marsala.
5.Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time, then dollop this mixture over the soused Savoiardi in each glass, using a spoon to whirl it into a swirly peak at the top.
6.Let these stand in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours, then dust with cocoa, pushing it through a fine-mesh strainer, just before serving.
Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. I messed with the Goddess’s recipe and came completely unstuck as a result. I thought the biscuits looked a little dry so added about double the amount of coffee suggested in the recipe – it was too wet even when set. I didn’t add the coffee liquer as I am not a fan but as a result the flavour was decidedly lacking in oomph, with hindsight I could probably just have substituted Marsala. You constantly live and learn!