Classic Tiramisu, Minus the Intimidation

While in Florence last fall, I had the opportunity to take three different cooking classes just for fun. Despite ‘Cuisine of Tuscany’ being the incredibly creative focus of each tourist-geared class, the only duplicated recipe was tiramisu.

All three approaches were slight variations on a theme, and I was more than happy to test each one and return home with this surprisingly simple, classic version added to my stash of all foods impressive but easy.

And it truly isn’t difficult to make tiramisu. In fact, it’s an ideal dish for entertaining as it can be made up to twenty-four hours ahead, fully assembled, and kept chilled. A single, large tiramisu is a sure winner, but this individual-serving version is easier to serve, looks beautiful in a stemmed wine or dessert glass, and just makes people happy. I’ve never seen anyone unhappily eating tiramisu. Ever.

Tonight was no exception. My wonderfully sweet new friend- the mussels neighbor– had a dinner party with the theme “your favorite recipes from travels around the world.” These portable plastic-cup versions performed brilliantly. I love returning home empty handed. From dinner parties at least.

So track down some mascarpone- available at most supermarkets with the specialty cheeses- and whip together you own solo-serving journey to Italia.

Classic Tiramisu, serves 5


  • 1 lb mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 5 Tbs white, granulated sugar
  • 5 Tbs unsweetened cocoa, in sifter
  • 5 Ladyfinger cookies (or any cookie that will soak easily)
  • 1 cup strong coffee or espresso, room temp


Beat egg whites on high speed to stiff peaks in the clean bowl of a mixer. This will take a few minutes. You can also whisk by hand to stiff peaks- it will take a while, and you may not love me for the suggestion.

In separate bowl, beat sugar into the yolks by hand with a wire whisk, 1 tablespoon at a time,Β until the yolks have lightened in color.

Briskly beat the mascarpone into the yolk mixture. It will initially seem quite lumpy but will become creamy and smooth in just a few minutes.

Gently fold whites into the yolk/mascarpone mixture.

Make individual servings by using dessert glasses or small clear beverage glasses.Β Spoon cream mixture to each glass until just under half full.

Dust with cocoa and top with a coffee soaked cookie (if using ladyfinger cookies, dip them quickly or they will fall apart).

Spoon in more cream mixture to rim of glass.

Dust again with cocoa and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Keep any leftovers chilled: doubles as quite the treat for breakfast!

Buon appetito!!

26 thoughts on “Classic Tiramisu, Minus the Intimidation

      • lol, I definitely like your thinking!!! Actually a good friend of mine from Le Marche in Italy mentioned that she and lots of her (fellow) Italians, tend to eat the sweet stuff at breakfast or mid morning. Obviously it gives their bodies a chance to burn off the majority of the calories by dinner. Either way, who can possibly say no to a country where they choose to eat dessert for breakkie, lol πŸ™‚

  1. Your absolutely right! Tiramisu does make people happy! I know it makes me happy! *sigh* Its been far too long since I have had a good one. Must remedy that. Thanks so much for sharing! πŸ˜€

  2. Deb
    I so look forward to each of your blogs. Your descriptions and experiences are fantastic and photos are great. What camera are you using?

    Your photo friend misplaced in Florida…me/Users/jheimbach/Desktop/photo-16b.jpg

    • Julie, thank you SO much! For you to actually think my photos are decent means a ton πŸ™‚ I have absolutely no training in photography. I just realized a couple weeks ago that my camera has a macro option- that’s how pathetic I am. The camera is just a digital Samsung (looks like it says TL220). I would love any tips you have, ever. And you need to come to CO, my misplaced friend πŸ™‚

  3. I love tiramisu and think your individual ones are perfect when having a dinner party. I’ve never known a single person who doesn’t love this dessert.

    • Thank you, Karen. I tho k you’re right! A few months ago I’d made some for a girl night. My friend’s twin daughters (6 years old maybe) wanted to try them and their mom- none of us wanting to share- said it was a grown up dessert because of the espresso and they wouldn’t like it. They insisted, and of course proved us wrong. And then we had to share πŸ™‚

  4. These would definitely make me happy any time of the day (drooling)! I love the individual cups. So perfect for a dinner party. I missed some of your posts, so I just subscribed so that won’t happen again!

  5. One of the great desserts of the world. I could and may have indeed lived on this stuff at times in my life. “Pick me up” could not be a more apt term for this bit of coffee/creamy deliciousness. How long were you in Florence?

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