8 ounces mascarpone cheese
½ c powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¾ c heavy cream
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 ¼ c double-strength coffee, cooled
3 Tbsp dark rum
2 dozen ladyfingers
chocolate shavings, optional
Put mascarpone, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with about half the cream. Beat a minute or two until creamy, then add the rest of the cream; whip until the mixture stiffens but is still creamy (it will go firmer when chilled).
Sift the cocoa and powdered sugar together. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to cover the dessert.
Pour the coffee and rum in a shallow container and quickly dip 8 of the ladyfingers, one at a time (they soak fast!), placing each in the loaf pan. Sift 1/3 of the cocoa mixture over them, and spread with half the mascarpone. Top with 8 more dipped ladyfingers, another 1/3 of the cocoa, and the remaining mascarpone. Cover with remaining dipped ladyfingers and dust with more cocoa, saving a little to dust the top of the dessert at serving time.
Wrap the overhanging plastic over the top of the pan, and chill for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. To serve, unwrap and put serving plate over pan; invert and peel away the plastic wrap. Dust with remaining cocoa, and chocolate shavings, if desired.