This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I've mentioned Freya North in these posts a few times. And I think it's high time I wrote a post specifically on her. Because if ever an author inspired me to bake and create, it would be Freya. Not only can she write about relationships, friendships and saucy sex scenes but she always leaves me salivating. For cakes and entire meals. After reading (and re-reading) Sally, Freya's debut novel, I needed Italian food. And I have never ever wanted to try tiramisu more.
But not only did Sally, the novel, include a splendid seductive Italian meal, prepared by one Richard Stonehill in order to entice Sally to bed, but it also included more down to earth bakes that Sally ate with her Aunt Celia. This included, but was not limited to, brownies, scones and fudge.
In Polly, Freya wrote about treacle tart, apple pie and rice krispie cakes and in Chloe we had fruitcake, flapjacks, Bakewell tart, rock cakes, shortbread and oatcakes. It's like Enid Blyton for grown-ups!
Freya has very cleverly and instinctively used food to demonstrate seduction, homeliness, celebration, close friendships, institutions, loneliness and relaxation. And by describing the food in great detail you can't help but feel what the heroine feels. After all, we know what a brownie tastes like, right? I, however, had no idea what a tiramisu tasted like. And when Sally feasts on the dessert, whilst holding Richard's gaze, I needed to know exactly what the "dark matt brown of cocoa powder, the soft ivory of mascarpone, the glistening sponge speckled through with espresso coffee" tasted like.
I vowed to make myself one. So I did. (I've actually now made myself more than one.) And this is the recipe.
Saucepan with an inch or so of water and a heatproof bowl to fit over the top without touching the water. Electric mixer (it can be done by a hand whisk but will require a lot of whisking), bowls for mixing and dipping, grater, sieve and a trifle bowl.
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
300ml double cream
12 – 24 sponge fingers (depending on size of bowl)
espresso coffee, cold
4 tbsp marsala
70g dark chocolate
2 tbsp cocoa powder
- Combine the yolks and whole egg with the sugar in a heatproof bowl and place over the saucepan of water. Heat extremely gently. Do not use a strong heat as it will scramble the eggs. Keep stirring for about ten minutes. This will gently cook the eggs (some tiramisu recipes use uncooked eggs but I prefer this way.)
- Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly then beat with an electric mix until pale.
- In another bowl stir the mascarpone to loosen up then gradually beat in the egg mixture.
- Whip the double cream.
- Combine the cream and egg/mascarpone by folding together. Do not beat as you will lose the air. Set to one side.
- In a small dish combine the coffee and marsala.
- Dip a sponge finger in, quickly, do not soak, then place in the bottom of the trifle bowl. Keep going until you have a layer.
- Add a layer of the creamy mixture.
- Then add a layer of grated chocolate.
- Repeat the layering with more dipped sponge fingers.
- Keep going until trifle bowl full or you have used all the creamy mixture.
- Grate more chocolate on the top and finish with some sieved cocoa powder.