3 cups strong black coffee, cooled
cup dark rum
2 eggs, separated
cup sugar
1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
20 large savoyardi biscuits or lady fingers
2 tsps dark cocoa powder
►COMBINE coffee and rum in a deep glass or jug.

1. Using electric beaters, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl for 3 minutes until mixture is thick and pale. Add the mascarpone and beat until ingredients are just combined. Using a metal spoon, fold in the whipped cream.

3. Dip half the biscuits, one at a time, into the coffee mixture; drain off any excess and arrange in the base of a serving dish about 7x9x2inch/20x25x6cm. Spread half the cream mixture over the biscuits.

2. Using electric beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold quickly and lightly into cream mixture with a metal spoon.

4. Dip remaining biscuits and repeat layering with biscuits and cream mixture. Smooth surface and dust with cocoa powder. Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop and until Tiramisu is firm. Serve with fresh fruit.

Variations: There are many adaptations of this classic Italian dish. Instead of rum, other alcohol-based flavorings, such as marsala or favorite liqueur may be used. Decorate top with grated chocolate if you prefer.

Hint: Tiramisu may be made up to 8 hours in advance and may be served before the two-hour refrigeration time is up but its flavor will improve considerably with standing, and it will be easier to serve.

     Serves 6 to 8.