Having been brought up surrounded by coffee, this dessert naturally made a regular appearance. When we were little, Mum made it without alcohol; but the older we got, the boozier it became!
4 medium egg yolks, preferably free-range or organic
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g caster sugar
8 heaped tablespoons
good-quality instant coffee
1 x 200g packet of sponge finger biscuits
100g flaked almonds
300ml double cream
Cream the egg yolks, butter and sugar in a large bowl or freestanding electric mixer. It’s important that the butter is at room temperature. In a small bowl, dissolve half the coffee in three tablespoons of hot water and stir into the mixture. In another bowl, dissolve the remaining coffee in 100ml hot water. Pour into a shallow dish with the brandy and Amaretto. Stir together and set aside.
Line a 10cm x 20cm loaf tin with cling film, leaving enough hanging over the edges to seal your cake over the top of the tin. One by one, quickly dip each side of the biscuits into the coffee and liqueur mixture. Don’t let them get soggy. Line the bottom and sides of the loaf tin, laying the biscuits side-by-side, like soldiers.
Spoon half the creamed mixture into the tin and top with a layer of soaked biscuits. Spoon over the rest of the creamed mixture and finish with another layer of soaked biscuits. Wrap the cling film over the top and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour. When ready to serve, toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan over a medium heat for about five minutes, until golden brown.
Turn out onto a serving plate and remove the cling film. In a small bowl, whip the cream until light and fluffy and spread over the cake until completely covered. Decorate with the flaked almonds to create a “hedgehog” effect. Slice and serve.
Simply Italian by Michela, Emanuela and Romina Chiappa published by Penguin. The Chiappa Sisters will at Malton Food Festival on May 24/25. www.maltonyorkshire.co.uk.