One Cool, Smooth Italian Dessert

When summer is here and I’m looking for a sweet and creamy dessert, I like to make a Tiramisu. This dessert is devilishly simple and only requires a few ingredients. It also looks like you spent hours making it, when you spent hours lounging by the pool while the dessert chilled in the refrigerator.

Tiramisu is a layered dessert using ladyfingers (an egg based spongy biscuit) dipped in coffee, eggs, sugar and mascarpone cheese and flavored with cocoa. The origin of the recipe is somewhat disputed but didn’t include any liquor or additional flavorings. I use a recipe that calls for dark rum but I like to substitute Amaretto or Kahlua for a different flavor.

Trial and Error

Anytime I try a new recipe, I recommend following it as closely as possible to understand the flavor of the dish. The first time I made Tiramisu, it was for my family and I learned quickly that the original recipe was a bit heavy on dark rum. You probably could have flambéed it even after several hours in the refrigerator! So, I made the recipe my own through trial and error.

The version I’m sharing with you today is based on a recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I cut back on the alcohol and increased the sugar based on my tastes. Feel free to garnish with some fresh berries for color.

Live, Laugh, Love, and Eat well!


Serves 8

Based on a recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten

  • 6 extra-large egg yolks at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark rum, amaretto, or Kahlua
  • 1 ½ cups brewed espresso, divided
  • 16 to 17 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 30 ladyfingers (generally in the produce or bakery section of grocery)
  • Bittersweet chocolate, grated or shaved, or powdered cocoa

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture is very thick and light yellow. Lower the speed to medium and add half the liquor, ¼ cup espresso, and the mascarpone. Whisk until smooth.

Combine the remaining liquor and espresso in a shallow bowl. Dip one side of each ladyfinger in the espresso/liquor mixture and line the bottom of a 9 x 12-inch dish with half the ladyfingers. Pour half the cream mixture over the top of the ladyfingers in the dish. Dip one side of each ladyfinger in the espresso/liquor mixture and place them in a second layer on top of the cream mixture in the dish. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the top and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle the top with shaved chocolate or powdered cocoa.

Hint: You can make espresso in your drip coffee maker using enough water for 4 cups and 1/3 cup ground espresso coffee (I use either Italian or French Roast ground extra fine).

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