My recipe for Tiramisu is legendary amongst my friends as it’s one that’s definitely not for children! It’s also my Dad’s favourite (quite a compliment from a man who doesn’t really ‘do’ puddings!) and easily doubled for parties.


Start to finish: 7 hours+. This includes a maximum of 1 hour’s preparation and a minimum of 6 hours chilling.




For this recipe you will also need:



1. First make up some strong black coffee. I use half a pint of boiling water and a heaped teaspoon of instant coffee.  Add the Tia Maria to the coffee and then set aside to cool slightly whilst you do the next stage. It doesn’t need to go in the fridge.

2. Sieve the icing sugar into your mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and give it all a quick stir (to stop the icing sugar from flying everywhere!) Then add the Mascarpone and then whisk on a high speed until it forms a smooth cream. It takes anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the power of your electric whisk.

2. Decant the Tia Maria / black coffee mix in a small deep dish – a cereal bowl rather than a soup bowl. Then take two sponge fingers, one in each hand and immerse them in the coffee mix. Count for 2-3 seconds and then pull them out. The aim is to get them to soak up as much of the mix as possible without them disintegrating into it. In some respects this is easier if your coffee mix is fresh i.e. still hot as you have to take them out after a couple of seconds so you don’t burn your fingers! If you keep them under the liquid too long, you’re likely to lose a few but this is ok, as you’ll have a few spares in the pack and you’ll soon get the hang of how long they can be under for. As each pair is done, line them up in the bottom of the glass dish, so you’ll be able to see them through the sides as the dish takes shape.

3. Now, spoon just under a 1/3 of the Mascarpone cream mix over the coffee fingers and then smooth it out so that all the fingers have been covered. Then follow it with another layer of coffee fingers, then just under another third of the Mascarpone. Add a final layer of coffee fingers and then add the remainder of the Mascarpone and gently spread it out to make a smooth top to the dish.

4.  Using your tea strainer (or sieve), dust the top of the dish with the neat cocoa powder. Gently spoon it into the sieve and then tap the side of it, again gently, as you move it over the dish until the top has an even covering. How much you put on is entirely up to you. As the mascarpone mix is very creamy, the bitterness of the cocoa will contrast well with it.

5. Cover the dish with foil, making sure that it doesn’t touch the top layer of cream. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, although I think it’s better left overnight as the flavours mingle more the longer it is left.


  • It’s really important to keep everything cold whilst you are whisking the mixture. This will help it to set well when it goes in the fridge afterwards.
  • Even eggs which are all labelled as ‘large’ often vary a lot in size. If you have really large ones, use 6 yolks. If they are not much bigger than some ‘medium’ ones, use 8.
  • If you have a choice of sieve or tea-strainer for the cocoa dusting, use the tea-strainer. The finer mesh will give you more control over how much coverage you get.
  • As it contains uncooked eggs, this recipe is unsuitable for very young children, pregnant ladies, the infirm or those with compromised immune systems.




© Kathryn Stanley 2011


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