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It means "pick-me-up" (metaphorically, "make me happy") ). It is said that Tiramisu is a recent italian creation and not an old recipe passed from generations to generations as one would have thought. According to an article written in 1981 by a certain Giuseppe Maffioli (1925-1985: a famous member of the Italian Cuisine Academy, also actor and journalist): «Tiramisu' was born recently, just 10 years ago in the town of Treviso. It was proposed for the first time in the restaurant Le Beccherie. The dessert and its name became immediately extremely popular, and this cake and the name where copied by many restaurants first in Treviso then all around Italy».

I have always been fascinated with this dessert ever since I first tasted it in an Italian restaurant. I thought it was a very complicated recipe that only trained chef (the kind that wear a gray mustache and scream orders at their terrified kitchen assistants) could whip up. Boy, was I surprised when I found out how to make it a few years ago: it was REALLY a piece of cake (pun not intended) to prepare... in fact even a kid could do it. It was a success at the very first try, however I relied on my usual guinea pigs, Pierre and my parents-in-law to fine tune it to today's recipe. They are so supportive of my experimental cooking...I'm a very lucky girl indeed.:-D

  • 3 eggs (separate yolks & whites)
  • 3 tsp icing sugar
  • 1 cup strong espresso coffee
  • 1 or 2 packet sponge fingers or ladyfingers
  • 500 g mascarpone cheese
  • cocoa powder
  • Amaretto liquor
Tiramisu ingredients
  1. Prepare 1 cup strong espresso coffee (black & no sugar) and set it aside to cool.
  2. Separate the egg yolk from the egg whites.
  3. Beat the egg white till the peaks are stiff. It's stiff enough when you can turn the dish upside down without anything giving up to gravity.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks and the icing sugar till it is creamy.
  5. Add in the mascarpone and blend it into a smooth mixture (no lumps).
  6. Fold in the egg white delicately till it is incorporated with the mascarpone mixture.
  7. Add a few spoonful of Amaretto liquor into the coffee. (up to your preference - weak or strong).
  8. Dip the sponge fingers (top & bottom) slightly into coffee and lay them on the base of a dish or container.
  9. Using a small sieve, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.
  10. Spread a layer of the mascarpone mixture on top of it
  11. Lay another layer of coffee coated sponge fingers and sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.
  12. Spread the final layer of the mascarpone mixture on top of it.
  13. Cover it and leave it in the refrigerator overnight (best) or at least 7 hours.
  14. Sprinkle a coat of cocoa powder on top of the Tiramisu before serving.
Putting the layers

What can I say ... it's as delicious as ever, with a smooth creamy texture, and not overly sweetened as some other recipes I've seen.

I have tried 2 different methods of making it: the lazy one and the 'make an effort' - both give me the same delicious results. The lazy method: just blend the sugar in with the egg yolk without really whisking it and then add in the mascarpone. The only difference I noticed is that with the whisked creamy egg mixture, I get more volume of the mascarpone mixture.


Kiddie friendly Tiramisu
Omit the alcohol (obviously:-p), replace coffee with Milo or ovaltine or hot chocolate...voilà you have a delicious Tiramisu for kids.

Spong fingers or lady Finger Biscuits
Be careful when coating it with coffee, some absorb liquid very fast while others takes a longer soaking. Always test it out first to see how fast or slow it absorbs the coffee.

The original Tiramisu use Marsala wine however I use Amaratto instead and others uses rum or brandy or even kahlua liquor. Also some prefer to add the liquor to the egg yolk mixture instead of into the coffee like me.

Using raw eggs
The original Tiramisu' uses raw eggs but there is a risk of salmonella so some people prefer to cook the yolks bain-marie and to substitute whipped cream for the egg whites. Never had any issue over here using quality eggs.

#1, by teckiee (09/19/2007)

I'll be your guinea pig anytime! Didnt know it means pick-me-up

#2, by Amy (09/19/2007)

Oh how I love tiramisu!

#3, by Kelly Mahoney (09/19/2007)

I love tiramisu and it does tend to pick me up. I first had one in the English countryside and it was rustic and delicious. I've been trying to replicate it since!

#4, by keeyit (09/19/2007)

My Godness ! I LOVE IT !!!
Between the second picture looks good. Nice shot!

#5, by Coffee & Vanilla (09/19/2007)

Wow, I always wanted to try to make tiramisu, it is one of my favourite desserts!!
I'm going to bookmark this page... thank you for sharing.

#6, by Fénix (Bostonscapes) (09/19/2007)

Nicely done, Pamela! I've even made it without eggs, (only mascarpone) with great results, but the eggs give it that wonderful silky texture. I first tasted tiramisù back in 1980, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of all places!!!

#7, by Little Corner of Mine (09/19/2007)

Oh man, give me Tiramisu anytime! I want a big piece please!

#8, by Peter (09/19/2007)

There's something in the air...including my blog...I must have seen 5 tiramisus on blogs....one shoul start a tiramisu contest!

#9, by Judy (09/19/2007)

I love tiramisu. You make me feel like having some now....I want, I want......!

#10, by Kevin (09/19/2007)

That looks pretty good and it does sound pretty easy. I like the sound of using the amaretto.

#11, by Cynthia (09/20/2007)


#12, by Lynn (09/20/2007)

Oh yummmm! I wish I could put my fork through the screen to take a chunk.

#13, by Wandering Chopsticks (09/20/2007)

Oh! I sure could use a "pick me up" right now! :P

#14, by Tummythoz (09/20/2007)

Oh dear, you say it's simple & yet I have not graduated from differentiating among 'beat', 'whisk' and 'fold'! *shy*

#15, by Mandy (09/20/2007)

tiramisu, I want I want!

#16, by tigerfish (09/20/2007)

Guess what? I just made the eggless version!:-D

#17, by Bon Vivant (09/21/2007)

oooh, that looks so delicious!

#18, by eastmeetswestkitchen (09/21/2007)

That look sooooo good and lovely!

#19, by Tartelette (09/21/2007)

Yours is one of the best versions I have seen out there. Well done! Wish I could be your guinea pig!

#20, by wokandspoon (09/21/2007)

I agree with Cynthia! B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!

#21, by Tyree White (09/22/2007)

You have done it again, everything you cook is right on target.

#22, by sandi @ the whistlestop cafe (10/06/2007)

I have never made a tiramisu, this makes it look pretty simple. I can follow the steps!

#23, by Michael Lofaso (09/07/2008)

I mean no disrespect but my Tiramisu is still the best I've ever had. I also make a Hazelnut flavored Tiramisu that is to die for!!!!

#24, by Janet Ching (02/01/2009)

Hi there, I just made tiramisu tonight, mine is pale yellow but not white enough, I wonder if this is ok or should I use fewer eggs, I used 6 egg yolks. I saw you used icing sugar, I think I will remember and try next time, as it makes me think that the icing sugar may help the tiramisu stands better after cut into portions. A lot of time, I see the tiramisu will flop.

#25, by The Cooking Ninja (02/01/2009)

@Janet Ching: Yes it think it is the yolks that make it look a little bit more yellowish. Sometimes I do use very fine sugar instead of icing sugar, however I make sure that it is more or less dissolved in the yolks first. As for the tiramisu flopping, I find that the longer the tiramisu is left in the fridge, the better it is (usually I leave it in the fridge overnight). Perhaps the creamy mixture is not cold enough?

#26, by Janet Ching (02/01/2009)

Thanks for your reply. It now has been in the fridge overnight, it does look okay and now I have to be a bit patient, as it is now too early for tiramisu. Yet I know how I can even better next time. Have a nice Sunday.

#27, by Janet Ching (03/21/2009)

Hi Pamela, still have ladyfingers leftover from last time. Made another tiramisu with 3 eggs instead of the other recipe I got which uses 5 eggs, not so yellow anymore : )

#28, by The Cooking Ninja (03/21/2009)

@Janet Ching: Let me know how do you find the one with 3 eggs. Do you taste any difference? From my experience, the more eggs you add, the heavier it taste.

#29, by amy +jessica (11/06/2009)

I really like your websiite its cool It made are school proguct really easy

#30, by yummy (07/12/2010)

hi,may i know what baking tin or what size u are using?

#31, by The Cooking Ninja (07/13/2010)

@Yummy : You can use any size baking tin or lunch box container or glasses. I usually make them in a plastic box container. Whenever I have guests, I make them either in a drinking glass (so that people can see the tiramisu) or make them in a ramekin. Hope this helps.