Tiramisu is a quintessential Italian desserts. With iconic flavors of coffee, mascarpone, Marsala wine, ladyfingers, and perhaps a garnish of whipped cream and chocolate shavings, it is no wonder that the name tiramisu comes from the Italian word meaning, “pick me up.” The mascarpone, a sweet, slightly acidic cow’s milk cheese from Italy, paired with the sweet and slightly caramelized notes of Marsala wine have transformed this Italian classic into an American favorite.

Things You'll Need

Mascarpone Filling

Combine egg yolks, sugar and Marsala in a stainless steel bowl.

Place the bowl over a double boiler. To create a double boiler, fill the saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Then turn off the heat and rest the bowl on the inside rim of the saucepan, just above the height of the water. This ensures that the mixture foes not get too hot and become scrabbled eggs.

Heat the bowl over the double boiler while continually whisking the egg mixture until it reaches 165 degrees F.

Remove from the egg mixture from the heat and transfer it to a standing mixture. Whip on high speed until it has cooled completely. This mixture is also known as zabaglione, which is an Italian foamy custard made by whipping egg yolk, sugar and Marsala.

Fold the zabaglione into the mascarpone

Fold in the whipped cream until it is fully incorporated

Assembly of Tiramisu

Brush flat side of the ladyfingers with the coffee liquor. Use a pastry brush to ensure that the cookies are soaked evenly. The amount of liquid used for soaking should be based on individuals’ flavor preference, along with the initial quality of the cookie. A drier cookie, or cake will always improve with the addition of alcohol.

Stand the lady fingers, lengthwise, side by side so they line the serving glass forming a ring, or fence-like appearance. Face the flat, soaked side of the cookie toward the the interior of the glass and the domed side of the cookie toward the outside.

Fill the ring created by the cookies with mascarpone filling.

Top the glass with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder. Serve chilled.


  • Have your glasses set up with lady-fingers prior to making the mascarpone filling. The filling will begin to set immediately, so it is best to spoon into the desired serving glasses or molds as soon as possible.