Tiramisu - the recipe and story



  • 5 egg yolk
  • 5 table spoons sugar
  • 500 gr Mascarpone
  • 1-2 table spoons Cointreau
  • 1-2 packs of vanilla sugar (vanillin)
  • a bit of lemon skin
  • espresso coffee (one pot or about 2 cups)
  • 1 pack (2 x 12) Savoiardi (aka ladyfingers, sponge fingers) 

How to

  • Cook coffee first and let it cool in a bowl.
  • Separate egg white and egg yolk, use egg yolk only.
  • Mix well egg yolk with sugar.
  • Add vanillin sugar and Cointreau.
  • Move the mascarpone by hand.
  • Add a bit of lemon skin before finishing with the mascarpone.
  • Keep the mass in the fridge (raw egg is delicate!) and start working with the Savoiardi.
  • Roll each Savoiardi in the coffee (it need to soak the coffee in but not be too wet to fall apart).
  • If you want to prepare servings by glass like in the photo above, then break on Savoiardi in half and lay in each glass 1 biscuit broken in half. You will get 12 servings. If you want smaller servings, use espresso cups and use only half biscuit for each cup. You will get 24 servings. You can also prepare one large container and serve by spoon. 
  • After the first layer of biscuits, add a layer of egg-mascarpone-mass on top.
  • Add another layer of biscuit.
  • Top with a last layer of egg-mascarpone-mass.
  • Sieve dark chocolate powder on top.
  • Cover with clear wrapping or aluminium foil and keep in the fridge at least for 4 h before serving.
  • Before serving sieve one more time a bit of chocolate powder on top.


  • Although raw eggs are delicate, and you will only use freshly bought eggs, you could prepare the tiramisu the night before serving it as it even taste better the longer the Savoiardi biscuits are soaked with all the flavors.  
  • Don't use the electric mixer for working the mascarpone. Work only with a hand mixer and do not over-do it as some mascarpone is more delicate than others and its consistency might become liquid. To rescue the desert you would then need to freeze it and serve "tiramisu ice cream".
  • Some more recent recipes include beaten white egg or cream. This results in double of the amount of mass. It might appear more light, but it is also more liquid and has a more intense egg taste.  


Tiramisu is an Italian desert originally from Piedmont, Northern Italy and the name comes from the Italian words "tira mi su" which translates as "pull me up". Some say "pick me up". But it is less about picking or pulling someone, and rather more about something that needs an uplift or support ...

The stories vary, and there are also pastry shops in Treviso, Venice and Siena that claim to have invented or re-invented the recipe. But since Savoiardi biscuits (The Savoy were the Nobles from Piedmont) are part of the recipe, I will just tell the story I heard from Turino in Piedmont: Once upon a time there was a signora that had a pasticceria near a brothel. And the brothel's male customer passing by were in need of something heavy in calories and protein to gain back strength. So the signora prepared a special desert with sugar and eggs. It was very tasty and apparently had a 'lifting up' effect. A kind of early Viagra. So the desert was called "tira-mi-su" and became famous. Today, the desert is still called Tiramisu, but most people, like me, have never heard about the brothel story. BTW, the stories from Treviso and Venice also include brothels. ;-)