For a large serving (8 to 10) you need
4 egg yolks
150ml castor sugar
10ml vanilla paste
250g Marscapone cheese, at room temperature
250ml cream, chilled and whisked to soft peaks
1 packet Amaretti or lady finger (Boudoir) biscuits
200ml cold espresso coffee
100g walnuts coarsely chopped
About 30ml coarsely grated dark chocolate or 20ml dark good quality cocoa powder
The serving dish
If you want to, you can layer it in a large serving dish. I lined a dish with plastic and turned it out, but this can be messy if the mixture does not set perfectly. (To do this it must be well chilled or semi-frozen)
My recommendation is to rather serve it from a large bowl, preferably glass so that you can see the lovely layers, or ideally individual servings in pretty glasses.
This recipe starts off with a zabaglione. Here you gently heat an egg and sugar mixture while whisking it. To avoid overheating and making ‘scrambled eggs’ I find it best to place the bowl over previously boiled water. A dish towel between the bowl and the saucepan prevents the bowl from slipping. It retains the heat.
Pour boiling water (I usually use hot water from the kettle) into a saucepan (the metal retains the heat and usually a saucepan is a convenient fit for a mixing bowl). Place a dish towel between the saucepan and the mixing bowl. This will prevent the bowl from slipping. As the water is no longer boiling, it can touch the mixing bowl.
NOTE the water must be off the stove. The heat retained from the previously boiled water is sufficient.
It is best to use and electric whisk if you have one!
Place the egg yolks and castor sugar in a mixing bowl and start whisking for about a minute BEFORE you place it over the hot water. Continue to whisk over warm water. The mixture will increase in volume and become paler. It is ready if you lift the whisk and the mixture leaves a ‘trail’ on the surface.
Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature. Whisk in the vanilla.
In the meantime whisk the marscapone until it is smooth and creamy. If the cheese is too cold and not at room temperature it will break up and have a curdled appearance.
Once the egg mixture has reached room temperature whisk the egg and marscapone mixture together, then fold in the whipped cream gently.
Now layer the biscuits with the above mixture.
Place the coffee and brandy in a shallow dish. Dip the biscuits into the coffee for a few seconds and then place a layer in the dish.
Sprinkle some chopped walnuts over, followed by half of the mixture. Repeat the biscuit and nut layer. Sprinkle a thin layer of grated chocolate. Add the remaining egg mixture.
Not illustrated: Chop the biscuits into pea-size pieces and mix the biscuits and walnuts. Using a spoon sprinkle the coffee/brandy mixture over, taking care to spread it evenly and not leave ‘puddles’ of coffee on the surface.
Finally sprinkle the chocolate or cocoa on the top. If you are going to freeze it, leave this until just before serving.
Chill well (for at least 12 to 24 hours) or freeze.
If you are going to unmould and invert the pudding, then sprinkle the chocolate or cocoa over before serving.
Serve with a good quality brandy or dessert wine