Recipe adopted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. [Recipe makes 9 servings].
Texture-wise, you have two things going on. The custard is comparable to a vanilla pudding, but is slightly more viscous so that the end product can hold its shape. The ladyfingers (which start out crisp and crunchy) lose any sort of crunch when all is said and done, but retain their structure. After the dish is refrigerated, it's almost like they transform into a layer of yellow cake. As far as the flavor of the dish goes, I was surprised at how much of the rum and hot chocolate really come through, since the ladyfingers are only dipped in these flavors for a few seconds. [Side note: As the author of the original recipe notes, hot chocolate is used in this recipe rather than the traditional choice of espresso. If you prefer the traditional flavors, feel free to use espresso rather than hot chocolate]. Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy everything came together, along with the fact that you can (and probably should) make it a day in advance. Besides creating a simple custard over a double boiler, no heat is required (i.e. no baking required). Everything came together in 30 minutes or so, and then the remaining time before it was ready to serve was spent in the refrigerator.
So despite not having anything to compare to, I'd say that the Tiramisu was a success. I'll have to make it again (maybe with espresso next time) and have the person who requested this dish be the true taste tester. Does anyone else out there claim Tiramisu to be their favorite dessert, hands down?
1 1/2 cups hot chocolate, made with water and 1 1/2 times the hot chocolate powder
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
3 1/2 ounces (~1/2 cup) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
Roughly 36 ladyfinger biscuits
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Prepare the hot chocolate as you would normally. When the hot chocolate cools down to the touch, whisk in the rum and vanilla extracts. Pour into a shallow container, like a pie pan, and reserve.
Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch of water to a simmer. In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until pale yellow (several minutes). Add 1/4 cup heavy cream and whisk for an additional minute. Once the water is simmering, place the large bowl on top (creating a double boiler) and whisk for 5 minutes, or until the egg mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove the bowl and set on a cooling rack to cool.
Once cool, beat in the mascarpone [mas-kar-POE-nay] until uniform. Using a stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks are formed. Gently fold (rather than stir) the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture in three batches until fully incorporated.
To assemble, soak one ladyfinger into the hot chocolate for 1-2 seconds per side. Transfer to an 8" x 8" baking dish. Continue lining the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers until you have one full layer. [Side note: You may have to trim some of the ladyfingers to get them to fit]. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top. Using a fine mesh strainer, dust half of the cocoa powder on top. Continue this process (ladyfingers, mascarpone mixture, and cocoa powder) a second and final time. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.