Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today was my guild holiday party, a pot-luck luncheon that mixes good food, good friends, and lots of wonderful quilting. This year I was on dessert duty and I spent a few days mulling over what I would bring. Our guild is large and we're asked to bring a dish that will feed 8-10. Since I'll be baking cookies later in the week, I dismissed them immediately. Buche de Noel seemed a bit fussy (and it's always a pain to cut). I was planning on making Death by Chocolate when I realized there was a wonderful Italian dessert I hadn't made in quite a while--tiramisu. An 80's dessert, tiramisu, which means "pick me up," is a variation of zuppa Inglese, another layered dessert. It consists of coffee-and-liqueur soaked Saviorde (Italian lady-finger biscuits) layered with a mascarpone zabione and whipped cream. 

This recipe, which I happened upon many years back, simplifies the zabione, a welcome respite from standing over a double boiler and whisking for what seems like hours. I was lucky that there was one piece left over (DSO was very happy) and so was able to get a photo.

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup strong espresso, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (or rum)
  • 20-24 Itallian ladyfinger cookies, carefully cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, combine espresso and coffee liqueur. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise. 
  4. Arrange half of split ladyfingers in bottom of a 7x11 inch dish, cut side up and sprinkle with half the espresso-liqueur mixture.  Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set.
Although this tiramisu does not require the whole double-boiler, zabaione-like process, it tastes every bit as good as if you had taken the long way round. I hadn't made it in years and had forgotten just how heavenly this Italian-style trifle is. I won't let so much time pass again before I make this. It is light in texture, but rich and satisfying with a wonderful, full mouth feel. While not overly sweet, you DO know you've had dessert when you're finished.


  1. Glad you were able to recover your blog!

  2. Arlene,
    Your tiramisu was the perfect end to a wonderful party. I feel like you've all become real friends. Merry Christmas!!

  3. This is the perfect looking Tiramisu! One of my favourite desserts.

  4. When something is good - it doesn't go out of style - as evidenced by your tiramisu.

  5. Oh my..... this is my kind of dessert. I'm adding it to my to make list. Thanks.

  6. Gorgeous and perfect for a party where it is satisfying without being too heavy. Yum!

  7. Your tiramisu looks light as a cloud. It's been years since I've had a slice and this is really making me want a slice.


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