Tiramisu is what I call an assembly recipe, open packets, a bottle of the favourite tipple and make a strong cup of coffee.  I have tasted chef’s recipes where the tiramisu is assemble shortly before serving but I don’t care for it made this way, I find the sponges have not soaked enough of the coffee and the cream is better after sitting for a good few hours in the fridge.

I like using chopped bits of chocolate from a bar rather than using cocoa powder as it adds a bit of texture to what otherwise is a very one dimensional dessert.

I have seen recipes not using coffee and apart from losing the meaning of its name pick me up, I think the bitterness coffee provides is necessary to contrast against the sweetness.  Choose your favourite spirit or fortified wine, I use Marsala because it’s not too strong.

From a presentation point of you it’s a dessert to serve in a large glass bowl or individual glasses to show off the layers.

Note: This dessert contains raw eggs, for this reason here in the UK  I use eggs that have the Lion mark stamped on them because the chickens have been vaccinated against salmonella.  I have seen a blog somewhere stating if using raw eggs make certain the eggs are the freshest as possible but freshness will not make any difference on whether an egg contains salmonella or not, the bacteria can be present regardless of freshness.  This is why we are advised to avoid giving raw egg dishes to small children, pregnant women and the elderly because of weaker immune system.

tiramisu 1

Separate the eggs, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar using an electric whisk for about 2 minutes until creamy, add the mascarpone and whisk again until everything well blended about a further minute.

tiramisu 2

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold their shape.  Mix one large spoon of the egg whites to the mascarpone cream in folding motions until well blended and then mix the rest gently.

Use your largest sharpest knife and chop up the chocolate into tiny bits.

Personal choice but for me it has to have a least two layers because when putting a spoon through them there is more of a balance of the the sponge layer against the cream, with only one layer there is too much cream in proportion to other ingredients.


Serves 4

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 250g / 9 oz  mascarpone, one tub
  • 50g /  1/4 cup  caster (fine) sugar
  • 150ml  /  1/2 cup of strong black coffee
  • 100-150ml / 1/3-1/2  cup alcohol like Marsala, klalua, sherry or brandy (if using brandy I would add less rather than equal amount to coffee, if you don’t want it strong)
  • 1 pack of Boudoir  or  savouardi biscuits also know as lady fingers biscuits, from 15 – 20 depending on the bowl shape
  • 80-100g plain chocolate cut into tiny pieces with sharp knife, or use cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt

Mix the coffee and alcohol together, let the coffee cool down and put it aside.  In a large bowl using an electric whisk mix the egg yolks with the sugar and once they’re pale and creamy after about 2 minutes whisk in the mascarpone in until it’s dissolved into the mixture put it aside.

Wash the whisks and whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt in a squeaky clean bowl until they’re firm but don’t over beat them, they should hold their shape.  Take one large spoonful of the beaten egg whites and folded it into the mascarpone mixture using light motions and add the rest of the egg white the same way.

Mix the alcohol and coffee in a flat dish that will take the sponge fingers. Start assembling, take your biscuits dip them into the coffee/alcohol mix letting it sit there until half of biscuit is wet, will take seconds, and put it in your chosen bowl or glasses.  Add the mascarpone and egg cream, and spread the chocolate pieces over it and repeat a second layer.  Put in the fridge for a good few hours and better left overnight.