This recipe is a blend of several folk recipes we gathered, by
phone, while visiting Vida's sister in Rome. It was the closest
we could come to tasting the real thing, because a mascarpone
botulism scare had the whole country on prohibition. We tried
looking up recipes in Italian cookbooks; but it seems that
Tirami su is considered by the natives to be so trivial and
obvious that it is never spelled out as an official recipe.
At least, that's what they told us gullible foreigners.
We've modified things a bit, for example by scrambling the rum
into the yolks to denature whatever badstuff might be lurking
(we recommend the same procedure when making eggnog).
1 1/2 packages lady fingers
4 T sugar
6 t coffee (we use 3 large Pavoni espresso)
1 lb mascarpone cheese
2 shot glasses rum
1 t vanilla extract
shaved semisweet chocolate (we use Valrhona Noir 71%)
scramble 1 shot glass of rum with the egg yolks and sugar, then
add the cheese and mix until smooth and light in color. beat
the egg whites to soft peaks, and fold into the yolk mixture.
in a separate vessel mix the remaining rum with the coffee and
now lay out a layer of lady fingers in a rectangular glass pie
plate, and dribble half the coffe mixture over them -- should be
wet, but not flooded.
pour half the cheese mixture over the soggy fingers, then sift
a bunch of cocoa over it, and some shaved chocolate.
now lay out a second layer of lady fingers, and do the coffee and
cheese thing as before, this time finishing with a light dusting
of cocoa and a generous layer of shaved chocolate. refrigerate
a few hours before serving. and don't tell folks they're eating
raw eggs, at least not until they're done.
8/19/01; spelling fixed 11/29/03 -- thanks to Federico Paoletti!