il tiramisù di mia madre

Yesterday’s fun event for Simone and I was to make tiramisù, a no-bake dessert which just needs to sit overnight to set. This morning, she proudly presented it to her principal.

Here is my mom’s recipe…one of the best I know of so I hope you try it and let me know how it went.


3 eggs
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 500g container of mascarpone cheese
1 pack (450g) of savoiardi (lady finger cookies, more or less)
325ml espresso coffee
liqueur(s) of choice

Make the espresso (I use a 6-cup Bialetti Moka & Lavazza crema e gusto). After it perks, add an ounce (more or less) of liqueur of choice (I prefer Sambuca/Anisette because it is sweet so I don’t need to add sugar to the coffee). Let it cool completely before dipping the savoiardi.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg whites till nice & fluffy. Add the sugar to yolks and beat till frothy. Blend the egg whites into the yolk-sugar mix. Beat together well. Add the mascarpone and blend very well.

Here, the consistency of this creamy icing is very important, as it will dictate the amount of alcohol you can add. Mom’s rule of thumb, if it is dense, you can add a healthy dose (1.5-2 ounces) of your alcohol of choice (her preference, Vecchia Romagna, an Italian Brandy). If it is runny, minimize the quantity to half of the original suggestion.
Mix in the liqueur well and set aside.

Now you’re ready to start the cake component. Dip each savoiardi cookie, one at a time, into the coffee mix (not soak, immerse or submerge, just DIP or else you’ll end up with zuppa inglese/English trifle). Place the dipped cookie on a lasagne-size tray. Complete the first layer of savoiardi (generally ½ of the cookie pack). Add three or four spoonfuls of the creamy icing on top of the first layer and spread evenly. Continue with the second layer of coffee-dipped savoiardi. Remember, we don’t want them soggy! After the second layer is complete, cover with the remaining creamy icing and spread evenly. Chill for 24 hours (more or less) so it sets well.

Before serving, sift unsweetened or semi-sweet cocoa/powdered chocolate lightly over the tiramisù. Cut and serve. (Approximately 15 generous servings).

If you have leftovers–good luck with that–refrigerate.