The variations of this mascarpone pudding seem infinite and I love the unusual addition of Brandy which was an idea I learned from the doyenne of Italian food writing, Anna Del Conte. I had previously used a coffee flavoured liquor but I adore the boozy contrast of brandy with espresso, rather than the coffee-on-coffee effect of espresso mixed with coffee flavoured liquor. For the espresso I have a coffee machine and do two ‘shots’ of coffee at 100 ml each to make up the 200 ml of coffee needed.

It can be tempting to make this and want to dive straight in, but I must insist that the wait time is respected. The biscuits need time to soak up the liquid and for everything to meld together. I have tried (more than once!) to skip the wait time and was disappointed every time.

It is quite a rich pudding and so smaller serves are usually better. I would make below quantity for 6 people which would give everyone a serve and then have a little left over for anyone who is particularly hungry.

Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites
70 g caster sugar
250 g mascarpone
200 ml black coffee
60 ml brandy
24 x Savoiardi biscuits
Small piece of dark chocolate for grating
Dutch process cocoa, for dusting

Directions:
1. Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and foamy before gradually folding (use a wooden spoon or large plastic spatula) through the mascarpone , a spoonful at a time. Once all of the mascarpone has been added give it another good whisk to make it all smooth.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form and then gently fold through the mascarpone mixture.
3. Combine the espresso and brandy in a bowl that will also fit the biscuits and then dip the biscuits, one at a time, into the mixture. You want the biscuits to soak up some liquid, but they will continue to soak liquid up as the pudding sets and so they shouldn’t be too wet.
4. Take a 20 x 20 cm tin and lay 12 biscuits over the base of the tin and spread about one third of the mascarpone mixture over it. Lay 6 more biscuits on the mascarpone and then top this with another third of the mascarpone mixture before repeating this step once more.
5. Grate the chocolate over the top of the final mascarpone layer and then dust over some Dutch process cocoa.
6. Allow the pudding to sit in the fridge, covered with cling film, for at least 6 hours. If I am serving this at a dinner party I like to give the pudding another final dusting of cocoa just prior to serving.

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