A Tiramisu Recipe ANYONE can make


I still remember the first time I heard the word “tiramisu;” I didn’t even know what it was and had to ask our friends Christi and Frankie to repeat themselves a few times before I finally understood. They had returned from a trip to Italy, and if memory serves me correctly, they were raving about one of their favorite things–a decadent, delicious Italian dessert I have since come to know, love, and make for special occasions, or really, any occasion that calls for a smidgen of fancy.


The first time I tasted tiramisu was when my friend, Isabel, made it. It’s possible I had more than my share of dessert. This is telling because typically I want only a bite of something sweet after dinner. To devour a complete serving (or two) is high compliment to its maker. The benefit of a dessert’s enjoyment has to outweigh the cost of its calories. In other words…

Tiramisu’s deliciousness > the cost of its calories.


Since then, I’ve lost count of the times my dinner has ended with tiramisu. I’ve had it at chef-owned restaurants and large Italian chains; I was lucky enough to order it in Italy and Germany the year we lived abroad. And, remarkably, this ridiculously easy recipe stands up to them all (or maybe I’m just lowbrow with a common, unsophisticated palate). A more traditional recipe calling for eggs and milk is all well and good, but for the taste and simplicity, I really do prefer this recipe.


If you’re looking for a magnificent dessert to wow your family and friends, do try this one! A New Year’s gathering would be the perfect time to try it. And if you do? Please come back and let us know your thoughts.






  • 1 8-ounce container of mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ cups of whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup of strong coffee/espresso*
  • 1?4  cup of Baileys Irish cream (coffee liquor)
  • 2, 3-ounce packages of lady fingers
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa or shaved dark chocolate



  • Beat 2 cups of the whipping cream (not all!) until soft peaks form; be sure they’re stiff enough to hold their shape.
  • In larger bowl, beat cheese, sugar, and remaining ½ cup of whipping cream at medium speed until incorporated and creamy.
  • Fold whipping cream into cheese mixture.*
  • Stir Baileys into coffee.
  • Carefully split lady fingers in ½. Place one set (one quarter, depending on your package) in the bottom of a trifle bowl or on a platter.
  • Evenly and generously brush the cut side of the lady fingers with the coffee mixture (use about 1?4 cup per layer).
  • Top with 1?4 of the cheese/whipped cream mixture.
  • Repeat layers three times.
  • Chill at least two hours and sprinkle with cocoa or chocolate shavings just prior to serving.

Additional notes:

  • Isabel’s original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of instant coffee granules. If you don’t have espresso/strong coffee, that substitution works fine.
  • The lady fingers will be very moist; don’t let that intimidate you. Use the entire amount of liquid in your recipe.
  • A silicone pastry brush is preferred to nylon or natural bristles; I’ve found they’re less likely to shed when using.
  • I don’t quite spread the cheese/cream mixture to the edge of the lady fingers; when I add the next layer, they kind of squish it to the edge automatically.
  • A trifle bowl (or deep dish) is better in the sense you can cover it without messing up the dessert. Since the last layer is the cheese/whipping cream layer, it would stick. I have made this on a platter before and not added the last layer until I was ready to serve for this reason.




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