Classic tiramisu with coffee, mascarpone & chocolate

how to make authentic Italian tiramisu

The best recipe for tiramisu is the simplest and most authentic. Use its original ingredients: real espresso coffee, Italian mascarpone cheese, homemade or good quality store-bought lady fingers. Please avoid instant coffee, cream cheese or store bought sponge cake, they simply don’t belong to tiramisu.

Tiramisu is based on zabaglione, a frothy custard made of egg yolk whipped with sugar and fortified with wine or coffee. In the past zabaglione was a popular dessert and administered almost as a medicine to energize soldiers, lovers and the sick.

Surprisingly, tiramisu is a relatively modern recipe.The world had to wait until the  1970-80s 1980s for Loli Linguanotto, chef of a restaurant in Treviso near Venice, to bring the tonic effects of the zabaglione to new heights with the invention of tiramisu. In Italian, the meaning of the word tiramisu is “pick me up” or “cheer me up”, in other words “make me strong” or “make me happy”. Don’t you think this is most fitting to such a fantastic dessert?

Loli layered lady fingers dipped in espresso with a mixture of zabaglione and mascarpone cheese and sprinkled it with cocoa powder.

The now world-famous Tiramisu had been invented, became an instant success and it surely has cheered up armies of adoring fans. As a matter of fact, Tiramisu is known and appreciated all over the world probably way more than Loli would have ever anticipated.



  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoon /50 gr. sugar
  • 1/2 pound / 250 gr.   mascarpone
  • 1 cup/ 250 gr. chilled heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cup cold  espresso coffee
  • 1/3 cup dry Marsala or other sweet wine
  • 30 Italian lady fingers
  • unsweetened dark cocoa powder for dusting

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or an electric mixer until smooth and fluid. Add 3 tablespoon Marsala and whisk thoroughly for another minute or so. Remove bowl from heat and let it cool. Add the mascarpone until just combined.

Whip the cream in a separate bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Fold it gently into the mascarpone mixture.

Add the rest of the Marsala to the coffee and transfer into a flat bottomed bowl which must be wider than the lenght of the lady fingers.

Now work quickly. Dip both sides of each lady finger into the coffee mixture for a few seconds. The cookies absorb rapidly and will disintegrate if left in the coffee. Line the bottom of a baking pan with one layer of ladyfingers, making compact rows. Spread a 1/2  inch/ 1 cm layer of  the mascarpone filling on top. Repeat layers of cookies and filling, ending with mascarpone.

Cover the pan with clingfilm and chill for at least two hours and up to 2 days.  Before serving dust with cocoa which looks prettier and fresher than dusting before chilling.
Serves 8-10

Savoiardi, artisan made Italian lady fingers from Sardinia
Homemade  Italian lady fingers

Tiramisu on Foodista

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  1. Hi Sandra, yes indeed one never has tiramisu leftovers isn’t it? It’s easy, it’s good and there is coffee, what else one needs? Ciao and thanks for passing by.

  2. I cannot stop thinking about this wonderful recipe! We are going to make this this weekend. Thank you Letizia!

  3. Yum — this is a fantastic recipe, Letizia! A huge hit at our cooking class at your place last month (do you remember how quickly we all inhaled it?)
    I’m definitely going to try this at home!

  4. Hello! I’m so glad to have found your blog via Foodbuzz. I live on Vancouver Island in Canada and love to cook and learn about cooking Italian food. Your recipes and food look amazing. Nice to meet you!

  5. What a great blog you have here Letizia. I followed you from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide our readers to your site if you won’t mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it’s all set to go, Thanks!

  6. Hi Letizia!
    I wanted to let you know we’ve selected you as our Foodista Food Blog of the Day for this Saturday, August 8th! Your blog for Tiramisu will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours. This is a new feature that we recently launched and are thrilled to post your blog.
    We are really enjoying your blog and look forward to seeing more of you on Foodista!
    Melissa Peterman
    Editor and Community Developer
    Foodista- The Cooking Encyclopedia everyone can edit!

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