How to Make Tiramisu

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Tiramisu is a melt-in-your-mouth Italian dessert.  It is a layered dessert made in a flat pan that is light in texture and filled with hints of the most delightful flavors.  The name “tiramisu” means pick me up, which may have something to do with the strong espresso that is used in it.


I am combining a few recipes to create a basic Italian  version.  There is really very little variation in the ingredients.  There may be a slight difference in quantities but that is all.  Of course, the more authentically Italian your ingredients are, the more Italian your Tiramisu will be.


  • Eggs, 3 large with eggs and yolks separated
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Mascarpone, 8 oz.  Mascarpone is a triple cream cheese that is easily spread like thick cream.
  • Ladyfingers, 20
  • Espresso, 1 cup
  • Cognac or Brandy, 2 tablespoons
  • Cocoa, 1/8 cup


  1. Make the espresso in a stove top espresso maker and let it cool.
  2. Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon espresso, sugar and Cognac into a large mixing bowl and beat 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the Mascarpone and beat 3 to 5 minutes until the consistency is smooth.
  4. In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar.  Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold into the Mascarpone mixture.
  6. Pour the rest of the espresso into a flat dish.  You are now ready to put the Tiramisu together.
  7. Take a ladyfinger and lay it flat, sugar side up, in the espresso and remove it immediately.  Lay it sugar side down in the Tiramisu dish.
    Use 1/2 of the ladyfingers.  If any are not dark with the espresso, just sprinkle a little more espresso on them.
  8. Spread 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture on the ladyfingers and sprinkle with cocoa.  Put the cocoa in a sieve and tap on the side to apply the cocoa evenly.
  9. Take the remaining ladyfingers and repeat step 7.
  10. Add the rest of the mascarpone mixture and sprinkle that layer with cocoa as described in step 8.
  11. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.  All the liquid will be absorbed by the ladyfingers and the flavors all blended together.


This dessert will keep in the refrigerator for several days, but I can’t imagine that there would be any left after the first time it is served.  Enjoy!

Italian Nonna

Simple Italian Cooking

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