Sounds hard, doesn’t it? Kinda thing you only get in the North End of Boston for a special treat? Well, we’re here to tell you that even you, yes YOU, can make this rich, decadent coffee-flavored treat without any special skills! All you need is a whisk (an electric mixer is easier, but not required), a saucepan, and a bowl to fit on top (ie a double boiler), assorted other bowls, and a 9” square cake pan. And a fridge and stove, of course. Oh, and a basting brush (natural bristles work better than silicone for this recipe.) But that’s it! Really!


6 Egg Yolks (save the whites for a healthy omelet or some not so healthy meringues)

¾ C Caster Sugar (you can use regular granulated sugar, but it won’t dissolve as fast)

16 oz Mascarpone Cheese, at room temperature 

1½ C Heavy or Whipping Cream

7 oz Lady Finger Cookies (get the crisp kind, not the cakey kind, if possible) 

½ C Strong brewed coffee or espresso 

¼ C Rum or coffee brandy (you can just use more coffee if you don’t want the booze)

Cocoa powder for dusting

Grated or shaved chocolate for topping


Make a Sabayon (This isn’t scary, trust me.)

Place an inch or two of water in the bottom of your double boiler, and bring to a boil.

Turn to simmer, and put egg yolks and sugar in the top of the double boiler.

By hand with a whisk, or using an electric hand mixer, whip for about 5 minutes until the mixture is a smooth pale yellow, thick and about doubled in volume. (The mixer is a whole lot easier, and you really do get a better end product. I used the whisk attachment for my hand mixer and got gorgeous results.)

Remove from heat but keep whipping to help it cool.

Add to room-temp mascarpone and whip until fully incorporated with no lumps.


Whip the Cream

Whip your heavy or whipping cream by hand or with an electric mixer until you have “stiff peaks”. (When you lift the whisk or whip from the cream it should form little mountains that keep their shape.) Don’t overmix or you’ll get butter!


Finish the Cream Sauce

Gently fold the whipped cream into the yolks/mascarpone.


Assembling the Tiramisu

Dust the bottom of a 9”x9” square cake pan or casserole with a little unsweetened cocoa powder. (A round dish works too, you just have to cut the lady fingers to fit.)

Mix the coffee/espresso with the rum or coffee brandy.

Dunk the ladyfingers into this mixture for just a few seconds, covering all sides, then arrange them in the bottom of your dish.

Spread half of the mascarpone/cream over the ladyfingers. If it’s quite a warm day, you may want to chill the cream beforehand.

Repeat this process.

Now the hard part: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. I’m sorry but you have to. You’ll be glad you did. The longer it sits the better it will taste!

Sprinkle with a dusting of cocoa powder and shaved chocolate before serving. (It’s also lovely with a little nutmeg mixed in with the cocoa powder.)