4 egg yolks
½ cup caster sugar
2 cups hot milk
¼ cup boiling water
3 tsp powdered gelatine
1 cup strong prepared espresso coffee
¼ cup Marsala or Kahlua
2 tbsp crème de cacao liqueur or cacao brun liqueur, optional
600 g savoiardi sponge fingers (biscuits)
250 g mascarpone
300 ml thickened cream
Dutch cocoa, for dusting
- Put egg yolks, whole eggs and 1⁄3 cup of the sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until mixture is tripled in volume, pale and creamy. Gradually add hot milk and stir until combined.
- Put bowl on top of a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure bottom doesn’t touch water. Stir frequently, using a wooden spoon, for 20-25 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Put a sieve over a clean bowl and pour in custard. Sit bowl in a larger bowl of iced water for 15 minutes until cooled slightly.
- Meanwhile, put boiling water in a heatproof jug and sprinkle over gelatine. Stir until almost dissolved. Microwave on high for 10-15 seconds. Stir until dissolved. Allow to cool slightly. Combine remaining sugar, coffee, Marsala or Kahlúa and liqueur, if using, in a medium bowl.
- Remove custard from iced water and whisk in mascarpone and gelatine mixture until smooth. Pour custard into a large measuring jug. Arrange a tightly packed layer of biscuits over a 20cm base round springform tin, cutting to fit. Brush with coffee mixture. Pour ¼ of the custard over biscuits. Dip 1 biscuit at a time in coffee mixture for 2-3 seconds, then make another layer on top of custard. Pour over another ¼ of the custard. Repeat with 2 more layers of biscuits and custard. Place tin on a tray. Cover loosely with foil. Refrigerate overnight (this can be done up to 2 days ahead). To remove from tin, run a flat palette knife around the side of torte before removing tin. Use a wide cake lifter to slide under torte to transfer to a cake stand.
- Whip cream until firm peaks form. Spread cream over side and top of torte. Dust top with cocoa. Cut 2cm off the end of remaining biscuits and place around side of torte, flat-side down. Serve. Remaining torte can be refrigerated up to 2 days.