Slice of tiramisu garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder on a cast-iron plate with a mock pot in the background.
Photography, Art Direction & Food Styling: Anthony Contrino

Tiramisu is arguably the most iconic Italian dessert, and this “pick me up” is easier to make than you think.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m sort of a snob when it comes to using top-notch ingredients, so you shouldn’t be surprised that I INSIST that you use the best espresso, eggs and cocoa powder you can get your hands on.  Your guests will thank you later.  Feel free to make this a day or two before serving (we love a make-ahead moment!), but do not garnish with the cocoa powder until you’re ready to serve!


Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 6 hours
Servings: 12


  • 2 cups espresso or strongly-brewed coffee, freshly brewed
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 6 large egg yolks, reserve whites
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1 16-ounce container mascarpone, room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 30 ladyfingers *See Note
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish


  • In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, stir the espresso, ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla until the sugar is dissolved; cool.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, bring an inch of water to a gentle simmer.
  • In a stand mixer bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, marsala, ½ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ cup of sugar until well combined.
  • Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is slightly warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved; do not overheat or the eggs will curdle.
  • Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until thickened and cooled, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the mascarpone and whip until combined. The mixture should be smooth; do not over-whip or it may break.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, clean bowl, combine the egg whites and remaining ¼ cup of sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
  • Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.
  • To assemble, quickly dunk the ladyfingers into the coffee mixture.
  • Lay the ladyfingers side, by side, trimming as necessary, in a 7”x11” casserole dish, until the bottom of the dish is covered.
  • Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth with an offset spatula. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and cream.
  • Wrap the casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • To serve, dust the top with a fine layer of cocoa powder.


You may need to use up to 12 additional ladyfingers depending on the brand you purchase and the size of the casserole dish you use. But don’t worry – the coffee mixture makes plenty and you’ll have enough!
Course: Dessert
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino