Traditional Tiramisu

There is something irresistible about coffee desserts. Traditional tirimisu has to be one of the best. Best assembled a day or so ahead to allow the flavours to infuse, tirimisu is a great option for dinner parties or Christmas Day. Nothing to do on the day except enjoy.

Traditional Tirimisu


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 160g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 509g mascarpone cheese
  • 600ml cream whipped
  • 2 Tb Masala (or alternatively use Kahluah, Baileys or Frangelico)
  • 2/3cup Masala/Kahlua/Baileys or Frangelico *
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups strong black coffee
  • 400g pack of small Savoiardi biscuits
  • Cocoa to dust
  • Strawberries to serve


  1. Beat cream until stiff peaks form then set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks until creamy then begin adding the caster sugar a little at a time. The goal is to have the sugar dissolve. This can happen with patience but if not the rest will dissolve in the next step.
  3. Add the mascarpone cheese into the egg yolk mixture and beat to combine until all the sugar dissolves.
  4. Stir in the liqueur then the whipped cream. This is the creamy filling completed.
  5. In a large bowl mix the strong black coffee with the liqueur and vanilla essence. (To make  strong coffee use 1 cup of espresso mixed with 1 1/2 cups of water or alternatively use 3/4 cup of instant coffee mixed with 2 1/2 cups of hot water.)

To assemble

Use individual glasses or a large trifle/salad bowl.

  1. Dip sponge finger biscuits into the coffee mix and line the bottom of the glass or bowl. (As the coffee mixture cools the sponge fingers will require more soaking. It’s nice for them to still have a little of the sponge unsoaked inside each one).
  2. Layer with cream mixture then another layer of soaked sponge fingers and repeat until all of the sponge fingers have been used.
  3. Dust with cocoa, cover and allow to set in the fridge for at least four hours. Overnight is better.


  • Traditional: Masala is the cheapest liqueur version and used many traditional Italian recipes. Kahlua is the next most commonly used.
  • Chocolate tirimisu: Use Baileys for the liqueur and layer the sponge fingers with added chocolate shavings.
  • Hazelnut Tirimisu: For a stand out  Tirimisu, try spreading the sponge fingers with Nutella before soaking them, use frangelico as the liqueur and sprinkle with roasted hazelnuts.
  • Cheats version.  Got the filling beat philadelphia cream cheese with whipped cream, 1tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup caster sugar then layer between the soaked biscuits as normal.
  • Healthy & quick for for a super easy version use a quality Greek vanilla bean yoghurt to layer between the soaked biscuits.

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