I have a feline heart. Treat me as you do a cat. Do not approach me straightaway or immediately attempt to wrap your arms around me, for I am sure to ignore you and wiggle free. Do not call my name and pat your lap expectantly. I will find other things to occupy my interest. Ignore me. Become absorbed with something else, then I will quickly and adamantly demand your attention, sprawling myself across whatever it was that you were working on. Leave that spot on your lap available. I will find my way to it – eventually, on my own terms. Once I have decided to stay, then you may love me and I will purr with contentment. Do not fuss too much over me. Hold me too tight or keep me too close and I will flee. Lock me out of a part of your life and that’s where I’ll want to be. Come to me on my terms, be patient with me, do not frighten me, and I will show you how I love — enduringly and deeply, but always like a cat.
Classic Italian Tiramisu
This is my version of the classic tiramisu I learned during culinary school. It’s exceptionally rich and heavier on the alcohol than most restaurant versions. Tiramisu means “pick me up,” but if bedtime is right around the corner, you can always substitute decaf espresso for regular.
- 4 eggs, separated
- pinch salt
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 16 oz. mascarpone
- Italian savioardi (crisp lady’s fingers)
- ¾ cup espresso or strong coffee
- ¾ cup marsala (traditional), dark rum, brandy, or Kahlua
- Cocoa powder
- Over a bain marie of simmering water, make the zabaione by constantly whisking the yolks and ½ sugar until mixture is light, thick, and sugar has melted (I use beaters to make quick work of it but if you don’t want to dirty beaters, a whisk works fine). Remove from heat and whisk in mascarpone.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar slowly, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Lighten mascarpone mixture by adding ⅓ of meringue. Fold in remaining meringue into mascarpone.
- Combine espresso and alcohol in a flat container. Very briefly soak each savioardi in espresso mixture and place on bottom of an 8”x 8” pan. Cut to fit, as needed. Cover with ½ of mascarpone mixture. Add another layer of soaked savioradi and finish with remaining mascarpone. Cover and let rest in refrigerator for at least 24 hours for the flavors to meld. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.
By adding a bit of meringue to the mascarpone mixture first and then adding the remaining, it helps the two textures blend together without overly deflating the meringue.
This meringue is uncooked. If salmonella is an issue in your area, you can use pasteurized egg whites.