Photo by Suzanne Heller
Just when I thought I never wanted to eat another tiramisu, my friend Enzo d'Alessandro, who makes the world's best nucillo walnut liqueur, brought me a present, a dessert made by his mother, Angela Ceriello, and his aunt, Zia Assunta, two of my favorite cooks in Italy. They serve it at the family restaurant E Curti, but I'd never bothered to order it, preferring other, far more interesting conclusions to the meal. So I was surprised at how light and delicious their version of this Italian classic was.
Enzo calls it tiramisuper, and I agree. I simply had to get the recipe. It's easy and quick to make, egg-less and without mascarpone, not a local ingredient in Campania. Angela and Zia Assunta use ricotta instead of mascarpone, flavor it with espresso coffee and sugar, dip simple cookies (they use Oro Saiwa) in unsweetened espresso, and layer them with the ricotta cream. Any simple cookie like arrowroot or digestive biscuits will do.
• 2 cups whole milk ricotta • 3/4 cup sugar
• 4-5 shots of espresso coffee • 4-5 oz. simple cookies
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
Mix the ricotta, sugar and 1 shot of espresso. If ricotta is very liquid, this should be enough to make a custard-like cream. If ricotta is drier, you may need another espresso.
Put 3 shots of espresso in a shallow dish and cool.
Spoon one third of the ricotta cream into a one-and-a-half quart mold. Dip cookies in the espresso and layer them on the ricotta. Spoon another third of the ricotta cream and top with espresso-soaked cookies. Top with remaining ricotta. Crush a few cookies and mix with 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the tiramisuper.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.