There’s a little trattoria in a quiet corner of Rome called Da Felice a Testaccio. It’s a local spot, buzzing with all kinds of conversation, where plates of cacio e pepe and roasted lamb over crisp potatoes float past at nose level. It’s been there since 1936, and it feels like it. There’s a simplicity to everything that creates an environment of timelessness. The tiramisu is no different. It was like no tiramisu I’ve ever had. The custard was a rich, bright yellow, it was served in a narrow glass with long spoons, and a pocket of ganache sat at the bottom, like a surprise at the end of an ice cream cone. When I made this, I used Marsala, which gave the sabayon (the egg custard) a pale brown color, so if you can, use vin santo, which will preserve the golden hue of the custard. Buon apetito!
7 egg yolks
1/4 cup vin santo (or any Italian dessert wine)
1/3 cup sugar
1¼ cup mascarpone cheese
1¾ cup heavy whipping cream
two 7-ounce packages Italian lady fingers
1 cup cold espresso
1 tablespoon cocoa for dusting
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate, melted
1/2 cup heavy cream
Combine egg yolks, vin santo, and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking constantly, until pale and thickened. Remove from the heat and whip yolks until very thick,like yogurt. Let it cool to room temp and then fold in the mascarpone. Set aside (in the fridge if making ahead of time).
In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside (in the fridge is making ahead of time).
Dip the lady fingers into the cold espresso just long enough to get them wet, but do not soak them (it will be a soggy mess if you overdo it). Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish (or container similarly sized, I used a large bowl).
Combine the melted chocolate and the heavy cream, forming a ganache. Pour half of it over the lady fingers. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.
Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and cream. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Dust with cocoa before serving.