Despite having moved in Ireland eight years ago (and a little detour via Australia for three years), I had never been a fan of whiskey until recently. I learned how to appreciate its flavour by learning how it was made and what was going into its fabrication*. Maybe that watching Don Draper making an Old Fashioned in 'Mad Men' influenced me a bit, and maybe trying a New Fashioned at The Beehive in Boston helped it even more.
My relationship with coffee is however quite different. I actually do not drink coffee. What? A French person who does not drink coffee!! Yes, it exists and I am not the one rare example, I have met others who do not either (maybe we should create some kind of exclusive club...). I have tried and tried again to drink it because I love its perfume but it does not suit my stomach. My last attempt was five years ago. I was traveling in Morocco and during a trip in the Atlas mountains, I decided to get a small glass of coffee as the sun was setting and the temperature was getting lower (and looking at other people sipping it made me crave it). Well, let me tell you that the drive back to Marrakesh via all the bends in the mountains was less than enjoyable. The only thing that works for me so far is coffee flavoured products.
That is why in the following recipe I am using coffee biscuits rather than freshly brewed coffee. It is quite delicious all the same. And I have an Irishman at home who gave me the thumbs up after eating this dessert so I guess it is a good sign.
Ingredients (serves 4)
8 coffee biscuits (the ones on the photo above are ideal)
5 tbsp Irish Whiskey*
2 large free range eggs
50g caster sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
pinch of salt
For this recipe, I used four small glass dishes for serving (height: 6cm; diameter: 8cm).
Crumble the coffee biscuits. To do so, I used my pestle and mortar but you can also put the biscuits inside a clean tea towel and break them using a rolling pin. Then, divide them between the four dishes. Add a tablespoon of whiskey to each.
Then, take two large bowls. Separate the egg yolks from the whites in each of them.
Add the sugar to the egg yolks plus the remaining tablespoon of whiskey. Mix well with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved and you get a creamy texture. I do it by hand but feel free to use an electric whisk (you will save on elbow grease). Mix in the mascarpone cheese at the end.
In the second bowl, add a pinch of salt to the egg whites. Whisk well until it creates stiff peaks (you know it is quite stiff when you can turn the bowl quickly upside down and the eggs remain in the bowl).
Using a wooden spoon, fold the egg whites delicately in the mascarpone mixture. Then, divide the mixture between the four dishes on top of the biscuit and whiskey layer.
At this stage, cover (with clingfilm) and leave to set in the fridge for at least two hours.
Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top before serving (I do not own anything fancy to sprinkle the cocoa in a nice way, but I find that a sieve works quite well when you tap on its side slightly to sprinkle evenly).
*Please remember to drink alcohol responsibly.