For the last few days Dad has been nibbling on chocolate, the 85% cocoa variety. He's been quite excited after reading about the health benefits of chocolate recently published in the BMJ journal Heart. A trial conducted over several years has concluded that people who regularly eat chocolate are less likely to develop strokes and cardiovascular disease, compared to those who don't eat any chocolate. This is a trial that I would have happily participated in, and sacrificed my body in the name of medical science! It is apparently all to do with the bioactive plant compounds found in cocoa beans. The researchers have found that by eating a daily dose of 100 grams, the risk of heart disease is reduced by 14 per cent and a 23 per cent reduction in the risk of a stroke. Other studies have also shown that eating chocolate lowers the 'bad cholesterol' in the body and another advocates that chocolate can help prevent memory decline. So now we don't need an excuse to eat chocolate; its all in the name of good health!
Speaking of good health, where is George Clooney, our favourite ER doctor? Evidently, he's busy enjoying one of life's great pleasures, drinking coffee! Nespresso has revolutionised my life. No longer do I crave a designer coffee. My swanky machine awaits me each morning and once my pod is in and at the touch of a button my perfect, luxury coffee is born and boy does it deliver. So the smart 'suits' at Nestlé have tapped into a lifestyle brand and I admittedly have fallen for it, hook line and sinker.
Using these two incredible ingredients, chocolate and coffee, with an added tipple of Tia Maria coffee liqueur, I've decided to treat Dad to a delectable dessert for Father's Day.
Happy Father's Day!
- 250g Tub Mascarpone, full fat
- 3 Egg Yolks, large, free range
- 2 Egg Whites, large, free range
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 160ml Intense Espresso
- 2 tbsp Tia Maria
- 12 Sponge Fingers (Savoiardi)
- 50g Dark Chocolate, 70% cocoa, finely chopped
- 2 tsp Cocoa Powder
- Place the egg yolks and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat. (I use an electric hand whisk). Beat together until it looks very pale and thick. This usually takes a couple of minutes.
- Add the mascarpone into the pale egg and sugar mixture. Beat on a slow speed. Initially it will look curdled, but keep beating until it is incorporated and smooth.
- Place the egg whites into a medium bowl and whisk with clean beaters, until the egg white forms stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the egg white into the mascarpone mixture and then set aside.
- Put the espresso and Tia Maria together into a mug.
- In a medium-sized glass serving bowl, place half of the sponge fingers at the bottom and spoon over half of the coffee mixture onto the sponge fingers.
- Cover the sponge fingers with half of the mascarpone mixture and top that with half of the chocolate.
- Repeat this whole process, layering the sponge fingers and spooning the remaining coffee mixture onto them. Cover with the remaining mascarpone mixture and sprinkle the remaining chopped chocolate on top. Sift the cocoa powder all over.
- Place the dessert into the fridge for several hours until the dessert is set and chilled. It is better to leave it overnight if you can.
- Serve the dessert straight from the fridge.
- Make sure you use very good quality free range eggs.
- I chop the chocolate in my food processor to minimise handling.
- I make the espresso in my Nespresso machine using the Indriya capsule. This is an intense coffee with spicy notes, from India.
- If I make this dessert for a dinner party, I just double all the ingredients and serve it in a large glass bowl for everyone to help themselves.
- You can also make individual ones, in small glass bowls, or in large martini glasses.