First, start by assembling the ingredients. We'll need
1 lb mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons rum (brandy also works well)
~20 lady's fingers (a light, oblong italian cookie with powdered sugar on one side)
a double shot (about 2 to 3 ounces) of espresso
1/2 cup of prepared coffee
shavings of unsweetened dark chocolate to top (1 oz. should do).
Chill whipping cream and bowl. Mix coffee and espresso and chill.
Whisk the whipping cream until it reaches stiff peaks. This can be accomplished in a few minutes with an electric mixer or by hand (times will vary depending on arm strength and stamina).
Put the cheese, sugar, and brandy into a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Add more sugar or alcohol as desired.
Fold in the whipped cream to create the cheese mixture.
Soak lady fingers in espresso for a couple seconds, rotating to coat all sides. Place lady fingers side by side on bottom of a 8x8-in. pan.
Put half the cheese mixture on lady fingers in pan. Smooth with a spatula or spoon.
Sift cocoa powder liberally on surface of layer.
Apply second layer of lady fingers and remaining cheese.
Sift cocoa powder and half of chocolate shavings.
Cover in plastic wrap and chill.
To serve, use the remaining chocolate shavings by sprinkling a bit onto eight plates. Cut tiramisu into eight rectangles and serve on plates (or simply spoon them out).