1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 cup cold water
4 tablespoons Triple Sec or other orange flavored liqueur
14 ounces ladyfingers
16 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound mascarpone cheese
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoon toasted almond slices
1. Stir 1/4 cup of the sugar into the hot water until completely dissolved, then stir in the cold water and orange liqueur. Lay the ladyfingers out on a baking sheet and brush both sides with the orange liqueur syrup. They should be moist on the outside but still crunchy on the inside.
2. Place the raspberries in a medium bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of the remaining sugar. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, 6 tablespoons of the remaining sugar and the vanilla with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick enough to form a long ribbon when you lift the beaters, about 5 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese, beat for 3 minutes then set aside.
4. Clean the beaters of the electric carefully and in a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until they form stiff peaks and have a glossy finish, about 1-2 minutes longer.
5. Fold the beaten egg whites into the mascarpone mixture, 1/3 at a time. Make sure you fold the egg whites in completely to avoid a coarse texture, but don't over-mix or you'll lose the lightness.
6. Cover the bottom of a 7x11 inch baking dish with a single layer of the soaked ladyfingers. Cut the remaining ladyfingers in half and stand up around the edge of the dish. Spread with the raspberries, 1/2 of the cheese mixture, the grated chocolate and the remaining 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top. Lightly cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
Nick Stellino reminds you to make sure that the beaters are thoroughly cleaned before beating the egg whites. The slightest amount of fat left on the beaters will prevent your egg whites from whipping properly.