Cheese / Chocolate / Dessert

Easy as 1, 2, Tiramisu



In the past couple of weeks, several people have either asked me for a tiramisu recipe or had questions regarding making tiramisu. So I decided to share a tiramisu recipe this week to answer those questions. Tiramisu (which means ‘pick  me up’ in Italian) is a traditional Italian dessert of mascarpone cream mixture layered over sponge fingers soaked in strong coffee.

This dessert always reminds me of the time when I was doing a catering job in Vancouver at Regent College. Because I took care of most of the hospitality requirements of the college, I could decide what went on the menu and who I wanted to hire. So I hired an Italian friend, Anna, who was a great help in the kitchen and whenever she made tiramisu for the staff (like for Xmas in the picture above), they’d come back begging for more. Since she’s Italian, she must be the authority on tiramisu. So I asked her if I could share her recipe on my blog and she kindly agreed.


My friend Anna assembling her tiramisu

This tiramisu recipe is one of the easiest I’ve seen. But sometimes, the simplest things are the easiest to botch up. Such as soaking savoiardi (lady finger biscuits). It is an art to not over-soak or under-soak them. And I don’t know how she does it perfect every time… it must be her Italian genes. Even though I thought I was pretty cautious this time, I still slightly over-soaked the bottom layer of biscuits. But then again, I’d rather eat soggy sponge than dry crispy ones. So good luck and enjoy this authentic tiramisu recipe!


My imperfect attempt at Anna’s tiramisu


Anna’s Tiramisu 
(Recipe courtesy of Anna Grottoli-Hagelgans)
Yields: One 11″ x 8″ dish

500g Mascarpone cheese, room temp
6 large eggs, room temp
2 packages Savoiardi lady fingers
3 tbsp sugar

500ml strong coffee
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp kahlua (optional)
2 tbsp rum (optional)

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1. Stir coffee and 1 tsp of cocoa powder together in a shallow bowl, allow to cool to room temperature. Then add alcohol if using.


The best is to use espresso but if you can’t get that, a very strong coffee would suffice

2. Separate egg yolks and whites. Beat egg yolks and sugar until creamy white. Add mascarpone and mix until blended. Leave this mixture in the bowl.


Most of our eggs are pretty safe, but if you want to be extra careful, wash the eggs before cracking them as most of the bacteria is on the shell.


Beat until you can see trails forming in your mixture

3. In another mixing bowl, beat eggs whites until medium stiff peaks.


Make sure you use a clean whisk and bowl as any fat from the egg yolks can prevent the whites from rising

4. Fold beaten egg whites into mascarpone-yolks mixture 1/3 at a time.


Mix only enough to blend as over-mixing will deflate the egg whites.

5. Quickly dip a savoiardi in the coffee bowl.  Build a layer of dipped savoiardi across the bottom of the pan.


To get the right amount of coffee on the savoiardi, lay the finger flat in the bottom of the bowl sugared side UP and immediately pull it out.


Place each finger flat in the bottom of the pan sugar side DOWN. If some of the savoiardi do not look ‘dark’, spoon a few more drops of coffee on the savoiardi.

6. Layer half of the mascarpone mixture across the layer of savoiardi. 


7. Repeat by dipping another layer of savoiardi and laying them on the mascarpone mix. Then spoon remaining mascarpone mixture across the second layer of savoiardi. Smoothen the top with a palette knife. Cling-wrap and refrigerate overnight.


Now’s not the time be a perfectionist, you just need to level it cos it’s gonna be covered by cocoa powder later

8. Before serving, sift a thin layer of cocoa powder on top of the second mascarpone layer.


I’ve been known to cause people to choke on cocoa powder with every bite of tiramisu, so don’t be like me! Dust sparingly!




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