Ideally, I would spend all my free time baking and making the most outlandishly delicious desserts imaginable. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time to do so. But when I can squeeze it in, I always try to go for something big. This time I decided to make tiramisu, the famed Italian dessert and afternoon delight. Being an ambitious idiot in the kitchen, I was determined to make it entirely from scratch. I later found out that this is a labor intensive dish, but well worth it! 

The richness of tiramisu is built on the foundation of the spongy ladyfinger cakes, and layered with sweetened and beaten eggs. Traditionally, the whites and yolks would be separated, then hand whipped and folded back together. But we have a few ways to make this process easier!  You'll notice that a double boiler is used twice in this recipe, which helps dissolves the sugar into the egg and help bind the whites and the yolks. Remember not to cook the eggs during these steps, just a good mixing for a few minutes. Also, an electric, standing or hand mixer will be immensely helpful when it comes time to beat the eggs to four times their original size! 

Although this recipe takes time, patience and keen attention to detail, the end result is well worth it. The only thing that stopped me from eating the whole tiramisu in one serving was how incredibly rich this decadent dessert was.

Rich and Decadent Tiramisu

  • Prep Time:30 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:1 hr 30 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Hard


  • 8 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup and 1/2 cup sugar separate
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon salt separate
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • the zest one large lemon approx 1 tbs
  • 24 ounces mascarpone 3 8 oz containers
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 5 ounces espresso or the strongest coffee available
  • 2 ounces Creme de cacao
  • 2 ounces a mild amaro Italian bitter
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 1

    We first need to make the ladyfingers. Preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a large piping bag with a half inch tip (I just cut the tip off to make the hole). And in a medium sized sauce pan, fill to about three quarters of the way with water and bring to a soft boil. We only need a steady supply of steam.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 2

    Combine three eggs, 2/3 cup of sugar and a 1/4 tsp of salt in a bowl that fits into the top of the sauce pan (creating a double-boiler). Using a flat spatula, continuously stir the eggs, be sure to be scraping the sides of the bowl, while it is over the steam. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is well combined, remove from heat. This should take less than five minutes, and the eggs should not begin to cook!

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 3

    Transfer mixture into a standing mixer or alternatively use an egg beater to whip until the mixture has quadrupled in size. With an electric mixer this took about 7 min, and it is ready when the mixture is able to hold soft peaks. The consistency is similar to soft-serve ice cream.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 4

    Add lemon zest to the mixture, and sift flour and cornstarch on top. Begin to fold gently to combine both. Once the ingredients are homogenous, transfer to the piping bag, doing your best not to lose any of the precious batter.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 5

    Begin piping 3-by-1 inch cookies with about an inch of space between them on the cookie sheets. Take your time, its not as easy as it looks. Some of my cookies came out in weird shapes, but they still tasted great. Finally dust with sifted powdered sugar, and bake on the middle rack for 8-10 min. I did both sheets of cookies separately. Allow to cool on the sheet and transfer to airtight container as soon as possible. (Hint: Make sure to test a few just to make sure they're good).

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 6

    To make the coffee syrup, combine both liqueurs, the piping hot coffee or espresso, vanilla extract and the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Whisk to form a clean homogenous mixture.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 7

    Using the same method as before, combine 5 eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl and stir over a steaming pot. Once sugar is dissolved and mixture is well combined but before the eggs begin to cook, remove from heat and transfer to standing mixer.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 8

    Beat on high until the mixture has grown greatly in size, and holds soft peaks. Once it has, reduce speed to medium and begin adding mascarpone a 1/2 cup at a time. No need to wait long between scoops. Once it is all in the bowl, stop mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl and then mix on medium for another minute or two to ensure everything is combined.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 9

    Finally all that's left is to assemble the cake. In a 8-by-8 inch pan, begin lining the bottom with ladyfingers that have been dunked and fully saturated in the coffee syrup (submerge for a few seconds). Once the bottom is full, add half the mascarpone filling and spread evenly, and then dust with sifted dutch processed cocoa powder. Then start a new layer of ladyfingers using the same process. Add the remaining filling, and make sure to lick the bowl clean. But try not to take a nap just yet! There's one more step.

    Mitchell Asselin
  • Step 10

    Too add some extra flair we can decorate the tiramisu using some butchers twine and cocoa powder. This step is optional, but start by laying the twine in loops and swirls across the cake. Then dust until the cake is completely covered in dutch processed cocoa, then pull the string from the end of your design (in other words remove backwards) to unveil your design.

    Mitchell Asselin