The famous Italian dessert is given a pâtissérie-makeover and turned into elegant individual slices. Satisfyingly contrasting layers of almond and coffee sponge and a marsala mascarpone cream are complemented by the unusual addition of sweet and tangy sultanas.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Make the almond and coffee sponge. Whisk the almond paste, 2 whole eggs and 6 egg yolks in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until smooth. Add the icing sugar and whisk for 3–5 minutes, until light and airy. Whisk in the coffee extract to incorporate.
Using an electric hand whisk, in a bowl whisk the 6 egg whites, and the caster sugar, cream of tartar and salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold one third of the meringue into the almond paste mixture, followed by the ‘00’ flour and cornflour. Fold in the remaining meringue.
Divide the mixture equally between two of the prepared baking sheets, using a palette knife to spread it out evenly and ensuring the sponges will be larger than 24 x 22cm. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the sponges spring back when you gently press them gently in the centre. Remove the sponges from the oven and leave them to cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Then, turn out each sponge onto a fresh sheet of baking paper and remove the baking paper that’s now uppermost. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave the sponges to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the stewed sultanas. Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Put the sultanas, cinnamon and 375ml of water in a large saucepan set over a low heat. Bring the liquid to the boil, then simmer the sultanas for 10 minutes, until plumped up and soft. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a hand-held stick blender, blitz the sultanas to a purée.
Return the purée to the saucepan and simmer over a low heat for 15–20 minutes, until the purée is thick and creamy, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Drain the gelatine, squeezing out the excess water, and whisk it into the hot purée, then stir in the marsala. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare the coffee syrup. Place the espresso coffee and caster sugar in a small saucepan set over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coffee liqueur. Set aside to cool.
Make the tiramisu cream. Place the egg yolks in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and whisk them until they are tripled in volume.
Meanwhile, place the caster sugar and 40ml of water in a small saucepan set over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to a rapid boil until the syrup reaches 115°C on the sugar thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer running, slowly pour the syrup into the egg yolks. Continue to whisk until the sides of the bowl are cool to the touch.
Meanwhile, using an electric hand whisk, in a separate bowl, whisk the mascarpone and whipping cream to soft peaks. Set aside.
Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Warm the marsala in a small pan until just below boiling point, then drain the gelatine, squeezing out the excess water, and whisk it into the hot marsala. Leave the mixture to cool before stirring it in to the egg-yolk mixture.
One third at a time, fold the egg yolk mixture into the whipped mascarpone cream, then transfer it to the piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
Using the metal frame as a guide, cut out two rectangles of almond and coffee sponge. Set the metal frame on the remaining lined baking sheet and place one rectangle of almond and coffee sponge inside it to form a base. Brush the sponge with some of the coffee syrup.
Spoon the stewed sultana purée on to the sponge and, using an offset spatula or a knife, spread it out in an even layer evenly. Pipe a generous layer of the tiramisu cream over the sultanas. Top with the second layer of almond and coffee sponge and brush that with the coffee syrup, too. Pipe another generous layer of tiramisu cream onto the uppermost sponge, using an offset spatula to smooth it out into an even layer. Reserve the remaining tiramisu cream to decorate. Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge to chill the slice.
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate decorations. Melt 100g of the dark chocolate, in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water and heat it until it reaches 41°C on the thermometer. Remove the bowl from the pan, and add the remaining 50g of chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and cooled to 32°C. Transfer the tempered chocolate to the piping bag.
Pipe 12 triangles of chocolate onto the sheet of acetate sheet or baking paper, moving the piping bag back and forth to create a roughly filled-in effect. Leave the triangles to set, then peel them off carefully.
Once the slice has set, remove it from the fridge and carefully remove the metal frame. Trim the edges to neaten, then cut it into 12 equal portions, cleaning your knife between cut slice to ensure perfectly precise lines.
Holding the piece of card or paper diagonally above each slice, dust one corner and half of the slice with cocoa powder, to create a cocoa triangle. Pipe small blobs of the reserved tiramisù cream along the edge of the cocoa powder and stand up a tempered chocolate triangle in the centre. Serve immediately.