Italian Week: Tiramisu

C – Tiramisu is one of my favorite Italian desserts.

I have had really good ones and really bad ones. It’s one of those desserts that is usually a sure thing. So, when you get a bad one, you are very surprised. How could someone mess up something so simple?

Sometimes I still wonder. Of course, the analytical me will have to break it apart and figure out what went wrong.

There are only a few ingredients that go into a good tiramisu. Usually when it’s overdone with too many components, it turns bad. The perfect tiramisu has a creamy mascarpone filling with a moist coffee-soaked cake and a hint of chocolate powder on top.

I once had a tiramisu with a giant, hard-as-a-rock lady finger. They made the lady finger themselves. Didn’t soak it in coffee and just layered the cream in between. Another time, I had one that masked the mascarpone cheese by placing chocolate in with the cheese. I couldn’t believe it. Why spend a lot of money on expensive cheese if you are going to hide it? At that rate, just use cream cheese and don’t call it a tiramisu.

I guess I am a purist.

I’ve been waiting for a good moment to finally try making a tiramisu. What better time than during Italian week? Of course, Jim didn’t want it. Somehow, I changed his mind. I really liked making this dessert. It was more complex than I thought. Egg yolks cooked with sugar for about 10 minutes then mixed with marcarpone cheese and whipped cream. It was a really nice custard. I loved how creamy it was.

I love how weird lady fingers are. Eaten by themselves, they aren’t the best cookies in the world. They feel airy with not much taste to them. Lady fingers are the only cookies that can transform into something completely different once hydrated. They turn into a cake. It’s a great, fast cheat if you don’t like to bake.

Italian Week: Tiramisu
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1¼ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 18 Italian Lady Fingers
  • ½ cup cold espresso
  • ¼ cup coffee flavored liquor (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and light yellow.
  3. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold whipped cream into the mascarpone a third at a time until incorporated. Set aside.
  6. In a separate bowl mix espresso and coffee flavored liquor (optional).
  7. Dip lady fingers one-at-a-time into coffee mix, placing in a single layer into a 6 x 9 inch baking dish.
  8. Place about half the cream mix over top and spread evenly.
  9. Place another layer of lady fingers dipped in the coffee mixture.
  10. Top with another layer of the cream mixture over top and spread evenly.
  11. Dust with cocoa powder.
  12. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  13. Serve.
  14. Enjoy!


The taste test was great. The cream was not too sweet and had a wonderful, cheesy texture. The lady fingers were awesome. They were nice and soft. It’s one of my favorite desserts because of the one-to-one ratio of cake to cream. That’s what I call balanced.

If you’re looking for a good tiramisu and don’t mind a little effort, try this one. It’s really good.

Adapted from:

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