You'll love this garnished abundantly with chocolate curls, which are easy to make. Use a large, long piece of slightly warm dark chocolate. Peel curls from the bar with a sturdy sharp vegetable peeler, pressing firmly. The pressure you apply will determine the thickness of the curls. Let the curls fall directly onto the dessert you're garnishing, or drop them onto a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate until ready to use. It's best not to touch the curls with your fingers, as they melt easily; use a paring knife or a wooden toothpick to move them.
Serves 6 to 8
*74% cacao or 87% cacao chocolates can be used if you prefer a less sweet tiramisu.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with about 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large deep bowl for about 8 minutes, until thick and pale. The mixture should form a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. Add the mascarpone and vanilla and beat on low speed just until light and fluffy. Add the cream and beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is doubled in volume and still loose. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the chocolate.
With the clean beaters of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites and salt in a medium bowl just until the egg whites form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. With a whisk or a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, one-third at a time, until blended.
Pour the espresso into a shallow bowl. Dip 9 or 10 of the ladyfingers, 2 at a time, into the espresso for about 30 seconds, or just until saturated; if you leave them in too long, they will fall apart. Arrange them in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish, cutting or breaking them to cover the bottom. Cover the ladyfingers with half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat, dipping the remaining 9 or 10 ladyfingers into the remaining espresso in the same way, and arrange on top of the chocolate mixture. Spread with the remaining chocolate mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 8 hours, up to 2 days.
Spoon into bowls and serve chilled.