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Caffe Florian, Venezia

“….with St Mark’s Square and church 100 yards off…..The place is like a vast drawing room lighted enough by the gas of the arcades all round the square under which sit all the Ladies and Gentlemen at their coffee, iced water and cigars…”
Effie (Mrs John) Ruskin, Letter, 1849

My favourite place, by far, is Caffe Florian in Venice. Set in the arcades within St Mark’s Square, this is the oldest café in Venice. It was opened in 1720 by Floriano Francescon. The architecture and wall murals are stunning. I recommend you sit at the marble tables and order a tiramisu. Not only the best dessert around, but you will be serenaded by a pianist or string quartet and you will have the finest view of Piazza San Marco.

This is, by far, the best recipe for tiramisu, as good as that of Caffe Florian.


Serves 10
4 egg yolks * 140g (5oz) caster sugar * 255g (9oz) mascarpone cheese * 285ml (½ pint) double cream * 2 tbsp dry Marsala * 2 tbsp Tia Maria * 2 tsp vanilla extract * 425ml (¾ pint) strong espresso coffee at room temperature * 30 Savoiardi biscuits * 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder * 55g (2oz) dark chocolate shavings

Put the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk for 5 minutes with an electric mixer, until the mixture is thick and mousse-like. In a separate bowl, beat the mascarpone and cream together until thick, then gradually fold in the Marsala, Tia Maria, vanilla extract and egg and sugar mixture, until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Take a 20x30cm dish about 7.5 cm deep (8x11x3 inches). Spread a third of the cream mixture over the base. Put the espresso in a shallow bowl and lightly soak each biscuit in it, one by one, before arranging them in a layer on top of the cream. Cover with a second layer of the cream. Continue like this to the top, ending with a layer of cream. Sift the cocoa powder over the cream and dust with the chocolate shavings. Chill for 2 hours. Note: due to raw eggs, this is not suitable for pregnant women.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.


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