Since its coffee-centric inception, tiramisù has become a leitmotif of Northern Italian gastronomy, particularly in the domain of dolci, or desserts. Originating from Treviso, a city in the region of Veneto, the name is derived from the traditional dialect where ‘tireme su’ means ‘pick me up’, and we can’t help but agree that this tasty treat does exactly what its name promises. First created as a nineteenth century aphrodisiac by the maîtresse of a house of pleasure, tiramisù quickly became a popular dessert enjoyed by the social elite, despite its somewhat risqué origin story.
Combining creamy mascarpone, strong coffee and a sprinkling of cocoa powder, this decadent dolce is sure to lift your spirits. It also happens to be our Head Chef Roberta’s favourite dessert. In fact, this tiramisú recipe was passed down to her by her nonna, Carmela, and tasting it transports Roberta right back to her childhood. Squabbling around the table with her siblings, the whole family would fall silent when Nonna Carmela’s tiramisù appeared. After all, the children knew that if they played their cards right they might even get a second piece…
Make our tiramisù
Whisk yourself away to the moonlit Venetian canals with our indulgent tiramisú recipe. Follow along with Chef Roberta in this step-by-step video, or check out the full recipe below.
Prep time: 30 minutes (plus chilling time)
Calories per serving: 614 kcal
- 4 eggs
- 500g mascarpone cheese
- 70g (about 5tbsp) caster sugar
- 300ml strong coffee (ideally espresso or Moka coffee but you can also use instant coffee; the coffee should be cool to the touch)
- 175g sponge fingers (also called savoiardi)
- 2tsp cocoa powder, to garnish
- Separate the eggs into two large mixing bowls.
- Whisk the egg yolks with about 2/3rds of the sugar until very pale and thickened.
- Start adding the mascarpone, one spoonful at a time. Continue whisking until all the mascarpone has been incorporated and the mixture is even paler and has a very thick consistency.
- Clean your whisk and start whisking the egg whites. Once they are foamy, add the remainder of the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
- Add a spoonful of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and quickly mix to combine. Then carefully fold in the remainder of the egg whites, one spoonful at a time. You want to keep as much air as possible in the mixture. Now your mascarpone mixture is ready.
- Get your serving dish ready. We recommend a glass one so you can see the layers.
- Place an even layer of the mascarpone filling on the bottom of the dish.
- Pour your cold coffee into a shallow bowl and soak each of the sponge fingers for a few seconds on each side so they absorb some of the liquid (be careful not to leave them in for too long or they’ll become too soggy).
- Place half of your sponge fingers on top of the mascarpone layer so that they completely cover it. Then, layer on top of these about half of the remaining mascarpone mixture.
- Build another layer of sponge fingers, followed by the mascarpone cream, on top of this.
- When this is complete there should be a layer of mascarpone cream on top. Finish your tiramisù with a dusting of cocoa powder.
- Cover the tiramisù with cling film or a tea towel and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight if you’ve got time.
- Serve your tiramisù and dig in. Buon appetito!