Rich, smooth, coffee-flavored dessert


My recipe is loosely adapted from this recipe, with sparks of inspiration collected from here and there.

The Cream

To me, the essence of tiramisu is mascarpone. The creamy, milky fragrance, and the smooth texture are what make tiramisu so delicious and rich. Some recipes use additional heavy creams, but it’s unnecessary. Mascarpone is made from cream; all the flavors you like about cream are already inside mascarpone. Just buy enough mascarpone, and you have one less thing to whip.

To make the creamy curd of tiramisu, first whip 4 egg yolks in a double boiler. Prepare a small pot with a bit of water, bring it up to a boil, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Place a bowl above the steam, and whisk the egg yolk for about 10 minutes, until it’s thick, viscous, and of a lighter color. Gradually add 60g of sugar during the process.

I’ve found that adding all the sugar at once can make the whipping process very awkward, especially with non-fine sugar. The mixture becomes simultaneously sandy and liquidy, which not very easy to work with. So, I add sugar in 3 batches.

While waiting for the yolks to cool down, whisk the mascarpone just a little, so it’s fluffier. It’s very easy to over-whisk mascarpone, so be careful. Fold in the yolks when they are cooled to room temperature.

Optionally, drop a pinch of salt into the egg whites, whisk it to a stiff peak, and fold it into the cream as well. The whites have no flavor; all it does is to firm up the texture, and dilute the sweetness.


Prepare 250g of coffee. Instant coffee works. As a coffee lover, this is not something that I thought I was ever going to say; but for tiramisu, it absolutely works. Double the powder to water ratio, so it’s strong enough. Or if you have an espresso machine, that’s even better.

For extra fragrance, I steeped a bag of Earl Grey in the hot coffee for 2 minutes.

Add a teaspoon of whatever liquor you like. Or if you are like me, who cannot drink actual alcohol, a few drops of rum extract works wonders.


Roll the ladyfingers in the coffee, and place them nicely in a layer. They should be just wet enough, so that there’s enough liquid to work their way to the core over the next few hours, but not so much that the whole piece is dripping.

On top them, spread a thick layer of cream. And layer the ladyfingers and creams until everything is used up.

Summary Card

Here is a printable summary card for the recipe:

Summary Card