Thursday, August 08, 2013


Usually desserts are made because I have an earth shattering desire to make this one particular thing. Like, if I don't make pot de crème now it seems like the world might explode. Or I'm craving the validation that comes from taking a plate of ever-popular blondies next door (because they're always a hit). Sometimes it's a simpler motivation like a box of cheap sponge cakes crying to be covered in sautéed fruit and whipped cream.

Very occasionally do I make food on demand. Especially a new recipe, that I haven't tried before. But when my mother comes home and says "there's mascarpone in the fridge and ladyfingers in the cupboard and what alcohol do you need for the tiramisu you're making tomorrow" it's kind of hard to say no. I do live rent free in her basement and all, so if the occasional dessert is requested of me that's really not asking too much.

I have to admit, this dessert was just a little more time consuming than I thought. It also dirtied an awful lot of bowls. Three different bowls just for the mascarpone filling, though there may be a step or two that could be streamlined. It also took longer than I expected, but was heavenly enough that it didn't matter.

This is a make ahead matter. I don't usually have the patience to let a dessert sit in my fridge overnight but the texture on this will thank you. The cheese mixture needs time to soften up the ladyfingers and things are a thousand times better day two than day one. I didn't change much from the original recipe (found here) though I'm glad I did make the few changes. The extra egg white and mascarpone made for a more substantial filling, and even though I made a smaller size in terms of cookie content, it was definitely needed.

And also? It's tiramisu. That's about the only incentive you should really need to make this.



  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature

  • 2 double shots espresso
    • can be replaced with 1/2 cup of strong hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 ounces amaretto (or rum, or kaluha)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 16 ladyfingers
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate shavings
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  1. Make the mascarpone filling.
    1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer. In a metal bowl, mix the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. Place the bowl over the saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Cook, constantly wisking, for about 5 minutes until the egg mixture gets a glossy texture and doubles in size. This is good to go when it's thickened enough to hold a ribbon between beatings. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly whisk mascarpone until softened.
    3. In another bowl, whip egg whites until they hold medium peaks.
    4. Whisk mascarpone into the egg yolk mixture until evenly incorporated.
    5. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolks and cheese, about a third of the egg whites at a time. Once incorporated set aside for later.
  2. Make your coffee dipping syrup.
    1. In a small, flat bottomed dish (not a bowl) dissolve the sugar into the coffee or espresso. Add the amaretto (or other liquor) to the mixture.
  3. Begin assembly.
    1. Cut your ladyfingers in half. They absorb the coffee a little better this way, it seems.
    2. Using half of your ladyfingers, quickly dip each piece into the coffee mixture and create a single layer on the bottom of your pan.
    3. Take half your mascarpone mixture and spread overtop of the ladyfingers.
    4. Don't freak out when you realize that the mascarpone layer is thin. It's ok, I promise. This dessert is not the sum of its parts.
    5. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate shavings.
    6. Repeat, layering a second set of coffee infused ladyfingers over the cheese mixture. Cover with remainder of the mascarpone, grate some more chocolate.
  4. Whip your cream together with your final tsp of vanilla and tbsp of sugar.
    1. Optional: Once the cream becomes thick but not quite whipped, pour in a couple of tablespoons of your leftover coffee and amaretto syrup. This just compounds the flavours and makes everything even more delicious. Whip until thick and holding medium peaks. This step really reinforces the coffee and amaretto flavour in the dessert the most.
  5. Spread your whipped cream mixture over the final mascarpone layer, dust with cocoa powder.
  6. Cover, and let rest in the fridge overnight.
  7. Portion and serve.

And! Here's a picture. You'll have to excuse the crummy lighting in the kitchen.

Also, apparently my mom's old Pyrex is trendy now. (The hand-me-down ceramic oven less so.) This same pattern is at all the local antiques markets. It looks dated to me, but hey it does its job. And we've got even more awful and popular ones as well. Who knew everyone would want the Pyrex?


  1. Ok so I do it a little differently...

    - I beat up the egg yolks (raw) and mix them with the mascarpone and sugar until light and fluffy.

    -like you, I beat the egg whites until peaks form, and then I gently add them to the yolks+mascarpone.

    -sometimes I do it without the liquor (but that's just because Mark does not like to taste alcohol)

    -I only put the chocolate shavings (actually cocoa powder) on the top, final layer, not in between.

    I don't use whipping cream at all.

    I do like the idea of cooking the egg yolks in this recipe, and I might try it like that next time :) Thanks for sharing! And I did notice the trend for old-school pyrex on pinterest.

    1. Oh and I use a proportion of 250 gr Mascarpone for each 2 eggs (separated)

    2. What worked so well with the whipped cream was reinforcing the coffee flavour. If it had been plain whipped cream (as was suggested in the first couple recipes) I wouldn't have been interested in it at all but I'm always a fan of the extra coffee flavour.

      I kind of want to try your method with the mascarpone and egg yolks and see just how much of a difference things make. I would have loved to have skipped or at least condensed that step. But the bit of cooking did make it easier to think of.