24 ladyfingers (savioardi) cookies (storebought or from recipe below)
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup (65 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 8.8-ounce (250 ml) package mascarpone
1/3 cup (80 ml) sweet or dry marsala
1 cup (235 ml) strong, warm espresso coffee
A couple tablespoons of your favorite cocoa powder, for sifting over
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2/3 cups (85 grams) all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
In a larger bowl, using same beaters, beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in mascarpone cheese until combined, and continue beating another minute for extra fluff. Beat in marsala until smooth. Gently fold in egg whites until combined, trying not to deflate the mixture. It will be a loose, soft, creamy custard.
In a small bowl wide enough to dip cookies into, combine the espresso and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.
To assemble small cups: Dip first cookie in espresso mixture until almost fully saturated but not falling apart. Break in half and place the first half in the bottom of your cup. Spoon 1 generous (I use a measuring spoon, but heaped a little) tablespoon cream over it. Repeat with second half of first biscuit and another spoonful of cream. Dust with cocoa powder. Dip second cookie in coffee and break in half. Place side-by-side over cocoa then top with 2 generous tablespoons cream mixture, which should take you nearly to the top of the cup. Dust with more cocoa. Repeat with remaining cups.
To assemble large cups: Dip first cookie in espresso mixture until almost fully saturated but not falling apart. Break in half and place side-by-side in the bottom of your larger cup. Spoon 2 generous tablespoons (I use a measuring spoon, but heaped a little) cream over and dust with cocoa powder. Dip two biscuits in espresso mixture and break in half. Place 3 of the halves on top of the cocoa powder, cover with another 2 generous tablespoons of cream and cocoa powder. Dip a 4th biscuit in the espresso mixture, break it in half, and place these two halves plus the leftover half from the previous layer on top of the cocoa. Dollop more cream over and repeat with remaining cups.
If you can bear it, let cups chill in fridge overnight to set. Before eating, you can dust them with fresh cocoa powder for a prettier look.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with the same beaters, beat egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale. Gently fold in egg whites, then fold in flour, trying not to deflate the mixture.
Pour batter into quart-sized freezer bag and snip off end to about a 1-inch opening or a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe cookies into 3-ish inch strips, with a 2 inches between each cookie. Sprinkle each with a pinch of granulated sugar and a light dusting of powdered sugar, then bake cookies until faintly gold and dry to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes (although I found it to take up to 4 minutes more when using a lighter-colored cookie sheet; better to check early). Let cool on tray for a minute then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
If you’re getting a lead on these cookies and won’t need them until the next day, leave them out uncovered so they can dry out as much as possible.