By CountryCakeDessertsEasy to makeHolidayItalyRecipesVegetarian

Tiramisu – Italy

Ah, Italy! So many delicious flavors, but one of my all time favorites is Tiramisu – it is essentially a coffee/sabayon trifle. Don’t be intimidated. This is fairly easy to make and even if you ruin it, it STILL comes out tasting DELICIOUS. There are multiple ways to make a tiramisu, each delicious in its own right, but I prefer a rich and creamy version with a sabayon made from yolks, sugar and marsala wine cooked over a double boiler. It takes a bit longer to make, but is well worth the extra effort. If you go with this option, use an inexpensive regular Marsala wine, not the fancy dessert ones. I tried that and did NOT like it. I like my cookies moist but not soggy with a notable but not overpowering coffee flavor. Figuring out how long to dip your cookies take time. The hotter the sugar-espresso mixture and the fresher the cookies the quicker the cookies soak up the liquid. If the coffee mixture is hot then you are looking at 2-5 seconds. If it is cold, you are looking at 10-12 seconds. You want the cookie to look like it is 1/2 coffee brown. Over the years I have cut back on the amount of sugar. The original recipe I made had whipped cream made with 1 C heavy cream and 2 tsp vanilla extract in it instead of egg whites. While delicious, using whipped cream instead of whites is not authentic. If you are nervous about using uncooked whites, you can do whipped cream instead, but the more traditional recipe – and less caloric (the one below), uses whites instead. I read that adding a hot simple syrup can pasteurize the whites. I don’t really buy that, but did it anyway. One important note: when separating your eggs, do each individually, that way if you get yolk in one of your whites, you do not have to start over. You can make this dish with just 4-5 whites. I save the whites with yolk and cook them for breakfast. With regard to the Savoairdi cookies, when I lived in NY, Savoiardi cookies were easy to find. In the burbs, gourmet stores tend to have them. Also if you search for Italian Markets near me, you will a) most likely find an Italian market and b) they will most likely have them. If not, you can order on Amazon. I actually Googled Italian market this time and found that right in my small town was an Italian market AND they had the cookies and tons of other cool things. Savoiardi cookies are the European version of a lady finger. Do NOT substitute the American version because those are soft and thinner. The European version is crisp, crunchy, light, solid, delightful and absolutely necessary for making a traditional tiramisu.

One final note, I tend to like thicker layers of cream. The version featured is made in an 8x11x2 inch pan. There is less cream per layer. I would recommend making it in a 8x8x2.5 or a bread loaf pan next time to have more cream per bite. But that is just me. You can also make it in individual servings by putting your layers in glasses. However you make it, enjoy!


  • ½ C marsala wine
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¾C sugar + 4T sugar(for coffee)
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 6 egg whites (ok to use 4-5 whites)
  • 25 ml water
  • 50 g / 1.75 oz Sugar
  • 1 C espresso coffee
  • 1 ½  package of Savoiardi cookies (italian cookies)
  • 3 T cocoa

Step-by-Step Directions

Prepare 1C espresso per instructions.
Dissolve 4T sugar in espresso.
Set aside.

Separate 6 eggs.
Put whites into a large bowl. Discard any white that has yolk in it.
Put yolks into a bowl that can go on a double boiler.
3. Add 3/4 C sugar to yolks.
4. Add 1/2 C marsala wine to yolks.

Put yolk bowl over double boiler. Boiling water should not
touch bottom of bowl.
Whisk constantly for 20-30 min until thick ribbons form when you
lift whisk.
It will start off liquidy and a deep brown yellow color. 
As it cooks it will first become a solid deep lemony color and
creamy like pudding. 
Keep whisking until it becomes thick and falls off the whisk in
It may pull away from the edges of the bowl when you stir –
almost like frosting.  

Remove from double boiler.
6. Whisk in marscapone cheese.
Set aside.

Beat whites until stiff – approximately 10 minutes.

When whites are stiff, make a simple syrup.
Heat 25 ml water and 50 g sugar in a small pot. Do NOT stir.
As soon as the temperature hits 250F (121 C) remove from burner
and pour into whites while whisking. Whisk for 2 min.
9. Fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Assemble the Tiramisu:
Dip the bottom ½ of each Savoiardi cookie in the espresso mixture.
Place dipped cookie in the bottom of a Pyrex pan espresso side down
until the bottom of the pan is covered. 

Spread 1/2 if the mascarpone mixture over the cookies. 
You can make a 1 or 2 layer Tiramisu. Your choice. I do 2 layers.
12.Chill for at least 3 hours. 6-24 hours is best.

Sift cocoa over the final layer of mascarpone.  
You can do this step before you refrigerate it if you prefer.

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