Ingrid Langtry and Sean Kierce have learned a lot since they first opened Ladro in 2003. They had to teach their little ones that you can’t order dinner from a menu at home and that they should never, ever take tiramisu off the menu. "We had people ring up and say, 'Is it back on yet? We’re not coming back in until it’s on'. They hold you at ransom," says Langtry.
Valrhona or Callebaut chocolate is grated over the top, each one is sprinkled with dark chocolate–coated popping candy imported from Europe, and the dessert is made fresh each day so they remain aerated and fluffy. "It does tend to thicken up when you refrigerate it overnight," explains Langtry, who also recommends draining the coffee from the biscuits on a wire rack lined with paper towel.
Experimentation is also encouraged, from adding Montenegro or Italian bitters into the mixture instead of marsala, to soaking the biscuits in bitter orange sugar syrup instead of coffee. This recipe was passed down to former business partner and chef Rita Macali from her great grandmother.
10 eggs, at room temperature 260g caster sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons marsala
36 savoiardi (lady finger biscuits)
500ml espresso coffee (or extra-strong plunger or percolated)
3 tablespoons good-quality raw cocoa powder
200g good-quality dark chocolate (Ladro uses Callebaut brand)
3 tablespoons chocolate–coated popping candy (or regular popping candy)
Add the eggs to a large bowl (it must be clean and completely dry) and mix with an electric mixer on full speed for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and keep mixing on full speed for 3 minutes. By this stage the mixture should have doubled in size.
Turn the mixer off and gently whisk in the mascarpone by hand.
Start mixing again with an electric mixer on the lowest speed. Increase the speed every 2 minutes until you reach medium speed and the mixture has become very light and fluffy.
Turn the mixer off and very gently fold in the marsala with a spatula. Be careful not to be too aggressive, as the mix will lose its aeration.
Dip the savoiardi into the coffee quickly and place on a plate lined with paper towel. You don’t want the biscuits too soggy or wet, as all the liquid will go to the bottom.
Layer individual jars or a large shallow dish (about 30cm x 25cm) with a little mascarpone mixture, some dipped savoiardi and a very light dusting of sifted cocoa. Repeat, then top with a layer of the mascarpone mixture, leaving enough room for the chocolate topping. Scrape the dark chocolate into curls with the edge of a spoon or using a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle the scraped chocolate and popping candy on top. Ladro likes to top it with as much as they can fit in the jar.
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