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January 4, 2011

First, a quick Italian lesson. The verb tirare means to pull, mi means me and su means up. So the Italian word tiramisù translates in English to pull me up (or pick me up) which the espresso, sugar, eggs and rich marscapone cheese in this classic Italian dessert will do! It is said to have been eaten by Venetian courtesans believing it would fortify them between their amorous encounters. Just sayin’. You can read the full history of tiramisù on this very interesting site,

Tiramisù is standard Italian restaurant fare these days but most are marginal at best. I learned to make this while living in Italy and took careful notes trying to get the quantities right. This recipe got the stamp of approval by many Italians I made it for, so I think it’s safe to say this one will be a hit for you too. My advice to you is this, allow yourself about an hour to make it and know you’ll have some dishes to wash since you will be making 3 mixtures that will be layered to create this decadent dessert. Plan ahead so it has a day or night to sit in the fridge before serving. This will allow the savoirdi to soften and all the flavors to settle in and get friendly with each other. That’s amore.



Ingredients for 8-10 servings:

Layer One – Marscapone (a soft Italian cheese, you can use cream cheese as a substitute)
  •  8 oz. marscapone cheese
  •  1/4 cup espresso 
  • 1 Tbsp sugar


Beat mascarpone, espresso and sugar until creamy. Set aside.

Layer Two – Zabaglione

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp sweet marsala wine

Beat eggs and sugar and wine

 Cook in double boiler whisking constantly until thick. Set aside.

Layer Three – Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream, sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Other ingredients:

  •  1/4 cup marsala wine, ½ cup espresso and 1 Tbsp sugar mixed in a shallow bowl
  • Unsweetened cocoa and/or dark chocolate shavings for dusting
  • 1 package (about 30) dried lady fingers or Savoiardi (available in many grocery or speciality stores)


Roll both sides of the Savoiardi in the marsala & coffee mixture just enough to moisten, not soaked through. Place side by side to create a layer in the bottom of a glass serving dish. Cover the biscuits with 1/3 of the marscapone mixture then 1/3 of the zabaglione followed by 1/3 of the whipped cream. Sprinkle with cocoa or chocolate shavings. Continue with another layer of savoiardi and the 3 mixtures until all is used up ending with whipping cream. Dust with unsweetened cocoa or dark chocolate shavings. Refrigerate overnight to let flavors meld and for savoiardi to soften and until ready to serve.

Roll both sides of the Savoiardi in the marsala & coffee mixture, to moisten, not soaked through

Place side by side in the bottom of a glass serving dish

Spread 1/3 of the marscapone mixture over the soaked biscuits, spread evenly with an off-set spatula

Use 1/3 of the zabaglione, spread to cover

Top with 1/3 of the whipped cream, sprinkle with cocoa. Repeat layers ending with whipped cream.

A double recipe will fill a large bowl like this and serve 18-20

Buon Anno Nuovo – Happy New Year

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 8:04 am

    YUM! Officially on the Mother’s Day “menu” for Grandma! Thanks!

  2. January 6, 2011 9:35 pm

    Looks yummy. But then, I’ve never met an incarnation of mascarpone that I didn’t like. 🙂 Tiramisu is definitely one of my fav’s. Maybe I’ll try out this recipe after I work off some of the holiday cookies…

  3. Debbie Martin permalink
    January 9, 2011 8:21 pm

    Amy, I made this yesterday and it was INCREDIBLE! I love your recipe – it was better than any I’ve ever had… and it was easier to make than I thought – thanks to your pictures and directions. This one is definitely a do-over! Thanks for sharing!

  4. January 9, 2011 8:46 pm

    SO glad it turned out well Deb. Happy Birthday to Bill!! :)p

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