We celebrated Michelangelo’s birthday yesterday by having tiramisu for dessert. But rather than the tiramisu I usually make, White Russian Tiramisu from Cooking Light, I tried a slightly richer version from Gourmet.


All in all, we liked it, though it did need a good 6 hour chill to firm up and develop. The original amount of coffee in the recipe (2 cups) and the 4 second dipping time were too much and too long for the brand of savoiardi biscuits I used (Alessi, in the green bag), but other than that the recipe was great and less heavy than some given the egg whites and fairly modest amount of cream. Since I made so many changes (used Kahlua, Safe Eggs, added vanilla, altered the coffee amount and needed 24 ladyfingers to make 2 layers), I retyped the recipe. The reviews on Epicurious are still helpful, so check them out if you’re unsure about tiramisu.

The next recipe I’d like to try is the one that comes on the bag of ladyfingers. I’m not sure I’d care for the Marsala since I’ve only had it in chicken.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy tiramisu recipe made with Kahlua
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
  • 3 large pasteurized eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 (8-oz) container mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed decaf or regular coffee (You could probably get away with less)
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 24 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers)
  • Cocoa powder for dusting top
  1. Have ready an 8x3 inch glass dish.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt just until they hold soft peaks. Add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, then continue to beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks.
  3. In a second large bowl, beat together yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until just combined. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. In a third bowl, beat cream until it just holds soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.
  5. Stir together coffee and Kahlua in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it about 1 second on each side, and transfer to the prepared dish. Repeat with enough ladyfingers (in my case it took 12 total) to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Repeat, making a second layer of ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.
  6. Chill for 6 hours or overnight. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

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  1. Therese B. says

    Anna…could I substitue Rumchata for the Kahlua? Or would that take away the tiramisu?

  2. Jen says

    That Cooking Light recipe is so good I’ve never tried another. Admittedly, I haven’t made it in a LONG time, but I’m not sure I need a richer version. I might try to make it again this weekend to see if my opinion has changed.

  3. says

    It took me many years to find the perfect tiramisu recipe. I slightly tweaked a “Cook’s Illustrated” recipe and now have my gold standard. I’m a recipe-aholic, and it’s rare that I stop looking for the next, even better recipe for something. This recipe has made me stop looking–it’s the best!

  4. says

    Therese, what is Rumchata? Whatever it is, if you like the flavor of it with coffee it would probably work.

    Jen, I need to make the Cooking Light one and put it up against this one. Good idea.

    Fran, yours sounds GREAT! Thanks for the link. I can tell from your post that you’ve spent a lot of time looking for the perfect tiramisu.

    One note I should add — this Gourmet tiramisu is very good, but it does taste a bit sweeter on Day 2. Now I can see why some of the Gourmet reviewers remarked on the sweetness.

  5. says

    Looks delicious! Thanks for adding the note about decaf. Some people who can’t have caffeine, but like the flavor, miss out on coffee flavored desserts because they forget they can use decaf!

  6. says

    Looks delicious! Thanks for reminding people about using decaf if they can’t have caffeine. I use it whenever something calls for coffee.

  7. says

    Looks great! This recipe is nearly identical to the one on my blog that my aunt taught me in the summer (a long standing recipe in her family). I think the only difference would be that she uses espresso exclusively and it is mandatory (with a capital “anditory”) that it spend at least twenty-four hours in the fridge before eating. There could be grave consequences if you attempt a piece before then :).

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