Tiramisu. The decadent combination of coffee and alcohol that translated means "pick me up." Made well, it's not for kids.

So many times you see this cool-whipped version of tiramisu that only hints at the greatness that it could be.

Let's face it. It has 2 cups of Espresso. Espresso! That will wake you up - and then 1/4 cup of rum. Now we're talking. You could literally pass out while having the shakes.

Instructions: You make this like a lasagna. It has three basic parts. The Espresso and rum mixture, the filling, and the lady-fingers (savoiardi).

Starting with the Espresso. Make 2 cups of espresso. No cheating with coffee or bottles. Make it from scratch. Set aside.
Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer and dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat. Stir in the espresso and rum and set aside to cool. You can do this no more than 1 day in advance if you would like.

The filling: Get a pot ready to use as a double boiler. So simmer some water in the bottom of it. Meanwhile, the top half you are going to get the yolk mixture ready. So, use a heatproof bowl to mix the 1/3 cup sugar and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved. It should be pale yellow and creamy after about 2 minutes. Once it is dissolved, place it on the double boiler and use a hand-held mixer to beat it until it triples in volume - it takes about 6 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool completely. But while it's cooling, you need to stir it frequently.

Do you see why you shouldn't give this to children? Too much caffeine, too much alcohol, too much work. If they want tiramisu - doesn't Jell-O brand make something for kids?

While that is cooling and you are stirring it, get another bowl and whip up that cream until you make whipped cream (stiff peaks). Set aside.

Now that the yolk mixture has cooled, mix in the mascarpone and vanilla until well blended. Finally, fold that into the whipped cream until just combined.

So on yet another platter, spread briefly dip the ladyfingers in the espresso mix and set aside. Then transfer the first 15 to a square 9" pan and spread 1/3 of the creamy filling over the top. Repeat that 2 more times. Tap pan on the counter to help settle it and then wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours.

When you are ready to serve it, dust it with cocoa powder and serve from the pan. But don't serve it to the children. They get Jell-O.

Item Amount
Coffee and Rum Mixture:
Sugar ½ cup
Water ½ cup
Espresso 2 cups
Rum, dark¼ cup
Ladyfingers45 each
Cocoa Powderfor dusting
Sugar 1/3 cup
Egg yolks 6 each
Heavy cream ½ cup
Marscarpone Cheese 1½ cups
Vanilla 1½ tsp
Tips: This is really a pain to make. But all of the steps are pretty easy. It's one of those desserts that if it was the only thing you made that day, it would be a pain. But if you make it along with everything else, it's actually pretty easy.
Low-Fat Options: Eat the kids Jell-O.
Dave Hampton