Cool and Classic Tira Misu

Serves 8

This luscious do-ahead dessert will draw raves from your family and friends. It is simple yet sophisticated—and a perfect accompaniment to a great cup of decaf at the end of a hot day. Be sure to use a clear glass serving dish or bowl so you can see the layers.

8 egg yolks
1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup Marsala wine
1 pound (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 packages (3 1/2 ounces each) ladyfingers, split
1 cup decaf espresso, chilled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

  1. Place the egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is just beginning to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone cheese until creamy and light. Fold in the egg yolk mixture. In another medium bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Carefully fold into the egg yolk and cheese mixture.
  3. In a single layer, place the split ladyfingers into a 9 x 14-inch glass baking dish (or large glass bowl). With a pastry brush, paint the lady fingers with the espresso (about 1/3 cup), just enough to moisten. Spread a layer of the cheese mixture (about one third) over the ladyfingers. Sprinkle a dusting of cocoa powder over the cheese mixture. Repeat layering until cheese mixture is gone, ending with cocoa powder. Chill, wrapped tightly, for at least 2 hours or overnight.